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Young Manja in Samali festal attire 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims 







OF 1910-1911 BY 












Adolf Frederick, Duke of Mecklenburg. 


By Adolf Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg 

The Central African Expedition of 1907 to 1908, when 
I travelled with a staff of scientific specialists through 
the unexplored country between Lake Victoria and 
Lake Kiwu, had valuable scientific results. Our ex- 
periences in the tropical forests on the banks of the 
Aruwimi and Congo Rivers impressed upon us the 
lamentable deficiency at the present day of botanical 
and zoological knowledge concerning the interior 
of Africa. In order to supplement this knowledge, 
by providing a picture of the aborigines, as well of 
the flora and fauna of the country north of these 
forests, for comparison with known facts in other 
parts, it seemed to us, after consulting many dis- 
tinguished scientists, that a second expedition was 
eminently desirable. 

The Zoological Institute of Berlin and the Bota- 
nical Museum of Dahlem-Berlin kindly permitted 
two of my former scientific colleagues, Dr Schubotz 
and Dr Mildbraed, to participate in the new expedi- 
tion. This greatly facilitated our preparations, since 
these two gentlemen, in collaboration with my old 
and valued travelling companion, Captain von Wiese 
und Kaiserswaldau, had already drawn up a plan of 
our projected campaign. 

A further favourable circumstance was that the 
other members of the party had all spent many years 


in Africa, either in a private or in an official capacity. 
The Government Physician, Dr Haberer, had been 
prosecuting researches for several years in the sleep- 
ing-sickness districts, so that I was glad to secure 
his valuable services. Dr Arnold Schultze, formerly 
an officer in the Cameroons constabulary, possessed 
an accurate knowledge of the African bush, and had 
already made a name for himself as an entomologist. 
Ernst M. Heims, the painter, had executed some 
black and white and water-colour drawings in the 
Cameroons in the year 1906. The list was completed 
by Sergeant -Major Roder of the Cameroons con- 
stabulary, and my valet Schmidt, to whom was en- 
trusted the care of the baggage and collections, and 
the payment of the bearers, etc. 

As is so often the case, some of the details of our 
itinerary had to be subsequently altered. We decided 
to proceed together as far as the Congo River. Drs 
Schultze and Mildbraed were then to set out by them- 
selves on a geographical, botanical, and zoological 
expedition through the unexplored parts of South 
Cameroons. This, moreover, was the express desire of 
the Dahlem Botanical Museum authorities. It was 
settled that the main party should proceed up the 
Congo and Ubangi Rivers, and spend some time in 
the wholly unexplored country on the banks of the 
Ubangi, in the neighbourhood of Libenge. Thence 
we were to explore the basins of the Gribingi and 
Shari Rivers, and finally to push on to Lake Tchad, 
and spend several months in Bagirmi. Since the 
time of the earliest pioneers, only the most meagre 
details have come to light respecting the fauna, flora, 
and population, and the influence of Islam on the 
religion and life of the natives of these parts. 

Dr. H. Schubotz. 

Dr. ]. Mildbraed. 


A journey from the Shari to the Nile, through Dar- 
Kuti, was also included in our programme. But it 
fell through owing to the political disturbances which 
culminated just at the time of our arrival. Herr 
von Wiese and Dr Schubotz, however, succeeded in 
reaching the Nile by taking a southerly route, and 
skirting the disaffected area. 

But this is not the place for a further description 
of our travels. In the following chapters will be 
found an account of the pleasures and hardships of 
our journey, though many interesting details had 
to be suppressed owing to lack of space. 

His Majesty the Emperor was graciously pleased 
to contribute a substantial sum of money towards 
the expenses of the expedition. This enabled us to 
enlarge our sphere of action, and to visit districts 
where we gained valuable information. We were 
also assisted by the German Colonial Society, and 
by many other generous friends. 

On the 9th of July 1910, accompanied by Captain 
von Wiese, who had been helping me in our final 
preparations, I travelled to Hamburg, where I met 
the other members of the party, and enjoyed a fare- 
well dinner in Dr Aufschlager's hospitable house. 

His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Mecklen- 
burg graced the occasion with his presence, as did 
Her Serene Highness Princess Henry of Reusz and 
her eldest son. Finally they accompanied us on 
board the mail steamer " Eleonore Woermann," 
where a number of Berlin and Hamburg friends and 
acquaintances had assembled on deck. The time 
passed in pleasant conversation until at high tide 
we were informed that the steamer was ready to 
start. The last visitors went ashore, thus severing 


the final link that united us with Germany. And 
as we glided slowly through the splendid harbour 
of Hamburg, past all the huge wharfs and dockyards 
slumbering in the dim light of dawn, we shut our 
eyes to the past, and turned our attention to the un- 
certain future, with an earnest prayer for success. 

Professor Haberer. 








By Adolf Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg 

Chapters I to III 
By Captain von Wiese und Kaiserswaldau 


I. Setting out on our Travels ... 3 

II. From the Ubangi to Lake Tchad . . .22 

III. Fort Lamy and Kusseri . . . .47 

Chapters IV to VI 


By Adolf Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg 

IV. Lake Tchad . . . . , . 6l 
V. In Bagirmi ...... 75 

VI. To Garua via Lai . . . . .98 

Chapters VII to IX 


By Ernst M. Heims 

VII. Through the Land of the Musgums to Lake 

Tchad . . . . . .115 

VIII. Through German Bornu . . . .145 

IX. On the Benue and the Niger, Homeward Bound 164 



Chapters X to XIII 


By Captain von Wiese und Kaiserswaldau 


X. Further East . . . . .179 

XL The Sultanates of Bangassu and Rafai . .197 

XII. In Semio's Country ..... 216 

XIII. In Bahr-el-Ghazal ..... 228 

Map at the End of this Volume 



Young Manjas in Samali festal attire . . Frontispiece 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims. 

Adolf Frederick, Duke of Mecklenburg 

Captain von Wiese und Kaiserswaldau 

Dr H. Schubotz 

Lieutenant Dr Arnold Schultze 

Dr J. Mildbraed 

Ernst M. Heims, artist . 

Professor Haberer 

Sergeant-Major Otto Roder 


1. Village on the Ubangi, south of Libenge 

2. Flooded area on the Ubangi near Duma 

3. Camp on the road from Fort Possell to Fort Crampel 

4. The Governor's house at Bangi 

5. Rapids near Bangi 

6. View of the rapids and our lodging at Bangi 

7. Ngamas .... 

8. Mandja maidens in Samali festal dress 

9. Mandja woman .... 

10. Mandja huts .... 

11. Old Mandja woman 

12. Mandja mother and children . 

13. Dance of Mandja women 
14-35. Ethnographical objects of the Mandjas 

14. Quiver. 15. Basket-work quiver. 16 and 
18-21. Spears. 22-23. Arrows. 24-28. Spears, 
32. Arrow-heads. 33-35. Bows. 

36. Fall of the River Nana . 

37 and 38. Bandas in a sham fight . 

39. Voyage in a steel boat on the Gribingi river 

40. Fort Archambault 

41. Sara huts with mat fences 

42. Saras in the camp at Jundu 





























43. Among the rocks of Niellim 

44. War-drum of the Sultan of Niellims . 

45. Togbau, Sultan of the Niellims, with his retinue 

46. On the Shari ..... 

47. French steel boat on the Shari 

48. Steamer " Leon Blott " ready to cast off 

49. Bornu musicians . 

50. Bornu traders at Fort Lamy 

51. German native troops at Kusseri 

52. Cavalry in full dress at Kusseri 
Life-guard of the Sultan Mai Buka 

Water-colour by E. M. Hcims. 

53. Before the gate of the German station at Kusseri 

54. The Duke with the child Sultan Mai Buka of Kusseri 

55. Pile defences of the station at Kusseri against the 

floods of the Logone . 

56. Giraffe " Josephine " 

57. Hyena dog (Lycaon pictus) 

58. Fibrous plant (Calotropis procerd) 

59. Island of Bugomi 

60. Island of Ifa . 

61. Buduma village on Ifa . 
Island in Lake Tchad . 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims, 
62 and 63. Buduma man . 
64 and 65. Buduma woman 

66. Cattle of the Budumas . 

67. Papyrus reed on Bugomi 
68 and 69. Abandoned French station at Bol 

70. Equine antelope 

Drawing by E. M. Heims. 

71. Shoa women 

72. Antelope (Hippotragus equinus) 

73. Migratory locusts 

74. Herds of cattle in Bagirmi 
Evening in a Bagirmi village . 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims 
15. Baggage oxen at Fort Lamy 

76. Wooded plain in Bagirmi 

77. Circular clay water-reservoirs . 




78. Residence of the Duke at Chekna . . .88 

79- Mat-fenced houses in Chekna . 


80. Street in Chekna 


81. Outer gate of the Sultan's pala 

ce at Chekna 


82. Herd drinking . 


83. Eunuchs 


84. Dwelling of the Sultan Garuar 

g's children 


85. The Duke on the slain buffalo 


86. Dance of the Bornu women 


87. Son of the Cadi of Melfi 


88. Bird-life on a pool in Bagirmi 


89. School in Bagirmi 


90. Arab chiefs in Bagirmi . 


91. Officers' station at Melfi 


92. Arab girl 


93. Barein children 


94. Market at Melfi 


95. Weaver in Bagirmi 


96. Wood-store of the Gabris 


97. Houses of the Gabris . 


98. Corn urn of the Gabris. 


99- Soothsayer 


100. Rhinoceros killed by the Duke 


101 and 102. Laba maiden . 


103 and 104. Kaba woman . 


105. Station of Lai . 


106. Draingolo 


107. Fish-drying frame 


108. Massa village . 


109. Massa head-dress 


110. Massa women . 


111. Bana farmstead near Ham 


112. The Mao-Kebbi 


113. Lere .... 


114. Ham on the Logone 


115. Bana men 


116. Bana women 


117. Mundang village 


118. Station house at Lere . 


119. Lamido Ganthiome and his two 

wives . 





Corn towers in Lere . 


Before the gate of Karnak . 


War-game of the Musgums . 


Victims ...... 


Village near Maniling . 


Musgum women at Maniling . 

In the Market-place of Musgum 

Water-colour by E. M. Helms. 


The artist and Simba, the lioness 


Travelling cage for the lioness . 


Musgum farmstead . 


Musgum houses . 


Earthenware corn store of the Musgums 


Musgum farmstead . 


Musgum settlement ..... 


Old Musgum chief . 


The Sultan of the MafFates .... 


Street in Gulfei . 


A corner in Gulfei ..... 


Kotoko house in Gulfei with washhouse and kitchen . 


Borroros ...... 


Bornu house in Vulgo . 

Interior of the Mosque in Dikoa 

Water-colour by E. M. Reims. 

Fullah beauty in Dikoa .... 

Water-colour by E. M. Helms. 


Reed rafts in the swamp .... 


On the march through the wooded plain 


Courtyard of the station at Dikoa 


Tripolitans in Dikoa ..... 


Market superintendent in Dikoa 


Bornu hunter in Dikoa .... 


Arab " Kashalla "..... 


Portrait studies ..... 


Rocks in the Mandara Mountains 


Village of Mora in the Mandara Mountains 

x Snowman. 


Village of the Mandara heathens 


Mandara heathens . . . . 


The Station of Garua ..... 




153 and 154. The Mao-Kebbi near Garua . 

155. Rest house at Togo 

156. The Duke (1) with Trierenberg (2) and Heims (3) on 

their cycle tour to Atakpame 

157. "Simba" on the voyage to Europe 

158. Hyenas on board 

159. Animal life on the Bahr-Keta . 

160. Von Wiese's constant companions on the journey along 

the Ubangi to the Nile 

161. Bank of the Ubangi, east of Possel 

162. Forest avenues on the Ubangi . 

163. Banda women of the Togbo tribe 

164. Banziri woman at the hairdresser's 

165. Banziri maiden with pearl-entwined head-dress 

166. Banziri fishing basket .... 

167. Sango children with pearl head-dress . 

168. Young Sango maiden .... 

169. Sango maiden with fish basket 

170. View of Mobaye .... 
Yakoma children with pearl head-dress 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims. 

171. Sangos in the market-place of Mobaye 

172. Mademoiselle Mobaye in the bath 

173. Yakoma men ..... 
Nsakkara woman of the Court of Sultan Bangassu 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims. 

174. Sango maiden with flowing hair 

175. Sango maiden with turban coiffure 

176. Yakoma spears .... 

177. Boat voyage on the Mbomu 

178. Nsakkara man, side and front view 
Semio, Sultan of the Asande Avunguras 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims. 
179- Nsakkara men .... 
180. Nsakkara village 
181-201. Ethnographical objects of the Nsakkaras 

181. Ivory trumpet. 182-85. Tobacco pipes. 186. Handbell 
187. Head-rest. 188. Food-basket. 189. Knife for felling small 
trees. 190. Dagger. 191. Food-basket. 192. Axe. 193. Beer- 
filter. 194. Pinchers. 195. Comb. 196, 197, 198. Daggers. 
199. Food-basket. 200. Tobacco-pipe. 201. Ivory armlets. 












Coiffures of the Nsakkaras 
Rapids on the river Mbomu 
Sultan Hetman of Rafai 
Sultan Hetman's band . 
Prisoners in Rafai 
Official visit to the Sultan 

x von Wiese. 
Giant chimpanzee, killed by von Wiese 
Soudanese soldiers of the Anglo-Egyptian army 
Pambia maiden .... 

Pambia Mountains .... 

Cavern in the Pambia Mountains 
Valley in the Pambia Mountains 
In the high grass .... 

Asandas with skin aprons, from Hirua's territory 
Liana bridge ..... 
Provision baskets of the Bellandas 
Bearer of the Kredi tribe 
Sister of the Asande Chief Hirua 

Water-colour by E. M. Helms. 
Station at Wau ..... 
Sudd of the Bahr-el-Ghazal in open water 
Steamer and boats in the sudd of the Bahr-el-Ghazal 
Nile Steamer " Zafir " . 







Captain von Wiese und Kaiserswaldau 



Two years had elapsed since Duke Adolf Friedrich of 
Mecklenberg returned with his fellow- explorers to 
Hamburg, in the s.s. " Eleonore Woermann," on the 
conclusion of his first Central-African expedition. On 
the evening of the 9th of July 1910, the Duke and his 
companions started on board the same steamer on the 
second Central-African expedition, which had been 
set on foot for the purpose of carrying out further 
scientific research in this dark corner of the world. 

The following morning this trim little vessel weighed 
anchor, and started on her voyage. From Hamburg 
to Dover we were accompanied by Herr F. F. Eiffe, one 
of the leading spirits in organizing this expedition. 
The Baroness von Suszkind, too, gave us the pleasure 
of her society as far as the Cameroons, being anxious, 
as a member of the Committee of the Colonial Women's 
Association, to learn from personal experience some- 
thing of German colonial life. 

The voyage through the Bay of Biscay to Las Palmas, 
Teneriffe, and along the West Coast of Africa as far as 
Togo was so uneventful that further details would be 
superfluous, and may be taken for granted by the 
reader, his interest being centred in our African 

The mail steamers go from Togo via Lagos, direct to 
Victoria in the Cameroons, but the " Eleonore Woer- 


maim " took an unusual course to the Spanish island 
of Fernando Po, in order to enable Herr Krull, the 
representative of the Hamburg firm of Nelson & Moritz, 
to land there. As we approached this island, the 
largest of volcanic origin in the Bight of Biafra, we 
were deeply impressed by the grandeur of the mountain 
summit protruding through the fog, 9350 ft. in height. 
We were glad to spend at least a few hours in the 
capital, Santa Isabella, and its outskirts, and thus 
gather a hasty impression of the island's tropical 

The following morning we steamed into the bay of 
Victoria, the most northerly harbour of the German 
Cameroons. Owing to the dense fog and pouring rain, 
we were unable to see the Great Cameroon Mountain, 
13,350 ft. high, which on a clear day is visible 
from a great distance. At Victoria we were most 
kindly received by the civil and military authorities, 
Councillor Steinhausen and Major Puder. After enjoy- 
ing for a short time the hospitality of the District 
Magistrate Kirchhoff, we travelled on the miniature 
railway belonging to the West-African Colonial Company 
as far as Soppo, where a detachment of Constabulary is 
stationed, and thence to Buea the seat of the Govern- 
ment. The following account of our stay in the 
Cameroons is taken from the Duke's diary : — 

" At Soppo a company of Constabulary was drawn 
up on parade commanded by Captain Rammstedt, and 
impressed me most favourably. We also had the 
pleasure of greeting the wife and two daughters of 
Major Puder, who have braved the climate for more 
than a year — for no other word correctly describes 
residence in the high-lying stations of Soppo and Buea 
during the rainy season. The latter has been sensibly 


beautified and enlarged during the last two years. 
From Buea in the early morning the outline of the 
Great Cameroon Mountains against the sky can 
usually be distinguished, but from Soppo this is very 
seldom the case. It rains there almost continuously 
for weeks and months at a time, and the place is 
permanently wrapped in fog." 

After a few rainy days, we moved from Government 
House at Buea into the interesting Duala district, and 
every day, weather permitting, we made excursions on 
horseback in all directions. 

We observed on all sides a very satisfactory advance 
in commercial and domestic life. Long, well-kept 
roads facilitate communication up-country, so that 
the valuable native handicraft can be brought to the 
Duala market. 

On the Northern Railway, which extends for seventy 
miles, the crowded trains testified to its popularity. 
We congratulated the Government architect, Reichow, 
and the chief engineer, Meine, on the progress of 
the works, for considerable natural difficulties have 
necessitated deep cuttings and circuitous routes in- 
volving arduous labour. On the Midland Railway 
we saw the splendid structure of the iron bridge 
which is being erected over the Dibambu River. It 
is 1050 ft. long, and will be one of the finest bridges 
in Africa. 

A negro theatrical company supplied the artistic 
element, and during our visit a meeting was held on 
the newly made race-course. This was the second 
since the course was made, and comprised an obstacle 
and two flat races which were a great success. 

These social gatherings, usually held on Sunday after- 
noons, are well attended, and are eminently desirable, 


in that they encourage the people to be sociable in 
a harmless manner ; they are, moreover, welcomed 
as a pleasant recreation by those who are engaged 
in hard work throughout the week. 

The day began with a native rowing-boat regatta, 
six long fantastically-painted canoes facing the starter. 
Many of them were manned by fifty or more rowers, 
and were consequently barely two fingers' breadth 
above the level of the water, which had to be continually 
baled out. The occasional capsizing of a boat merely 
increased the merriment. 

Our staff of cooks, " boys," and assistants, engaged at 
Togo for the whole journey, was supplemented at Duala, 
so that each member of the expedition had at his dis- 
posal one cook and two " boys," without counting the 
five natives who were to learn how to stuff birds and 
prepare skins. We also obtained twenty black soldiers 
from the Imperial Constabulary ; these were for the 
most part natives of Jaunde, and with a few excep- 
tions turned out well. Sergeant-Major Roder of the 
Constabulary also joined the expedition at Duala, as 
accountant and head of the commissariat. 

On the 10th of August, we embarked in the little 
Government steamer " Soden," which was to take us 
as far as the mouth of the Cameroon River, where the 
cargo-steamer " Edea " was waiting to convey us to 
Boma on the Congo. As we steamed past the German 
gunboat " Eber " in Duala harbour, her crew manned 
the deck, and by order of her commander, Captain 
Lustig, gave three cheers for the Duke. It was our 
bluejackets' hearty good-bye to the expedition ! 

There being no regular service between Duala and 
Boma, the Hamburg-American Line kindly placed at 
our disposal the " Edea," a 3500 ton cargo-steamer. 


Our reception, accommodation, and food on board this 
vessel were excellent, and her good captain, Herr Frank, 
vied with his officers in making the voyage as pleasant 
as possible. 

Fortune favoured us in letting us land at St. 
Thomas, an island which although visited by com- 
paratively few travellers, is by no means devoid of 
interest. It is not generally known that this Portuguese 
island holds the third rank, immediately after Brazil 
and Ecuador, in the exportation of cocoa. St. Thomas 
offers, moreover, a fruitful field for the collector, 
especially as regards entomology and botany. A two 
days' tour into the interior fully confirmed all that we 
had been led to expect. Prince's Island and Annobon 
are of equal interest. Consequently the Duke decided 
to include these islands as well as Fernando Po in 
the itinerary of the expedition, and to send thither 
Dr Schultze and Dr Mildbraed at the conclusion of 
their travels in the South Cameroons. An account of 
their experiences and observations will be found in 
Volume II. 

The " Edea " having cargo for Spanish Guinea, we 
steamed from St. Thomas to Bata, the capital of 
this Spanish colony, and observed how little the 
Spaniards have exploited it. They seem to use it 
mainly as a source for obtaining labourers for the 
Fernando Po plantations, and the methods employed 
in their capture must be described as a modern 
slave-trade. The sub-governor of Bata receives no 
official salary, but is paid 70 pesetas, i.e. about 50s., 
for every workman he supplies. No comment is 
needed. We visited Benito, at the mouth of the river 
of the same name, and then spent a day on the island 
of Elobey at the mouth of the Muni River. The chief 


trade of this Spanish colony is in the hands of the 
Hamburg firm of Woermaun, and the English firms of 
John Holt and Hatton & Cookson. Spanish firms 
have hitherto placed little value on the resources of the 

Our next stopping-place was Libreville, the capital 
of French Gaboon, with which we had become acquainted 
on a previous visit two years ago. 

French Equatorial Africa consists of three colonies : 
Gaboon, Mid- Congo, with its capital Brazzaville, and 
Ubangi-Shari-Tchad, with its capital Bangi. The 
" Military Territory of the Tchad," with its capital 
Fort Lamy, forms part of the last-named colony. The 
Governor- General resides at Brazzaville. 

On the morning of the 23rd of August we reached 
Banana, at the mouth of the Congo, and a pilot brought 
us to Boma, the capital of the Congo State. A hearty 
welcome was here extended to the Duke, the Governor- 
General Fuchs, whose acquaintance we had made on a 
previous occasion, meeting us on the quay with his 
officers and staff. At six o'clock the following morning 
we continued our voyage as far as Matadi, which, owing 
to the strong adverse current, we did not reach until 
the afternoon was well advanced. 

In Boma we noticed several alterations and improve- 
ments. The sleeping sickness, which still ravages a 
great part of the interior of Africa, has necessitated the 
extension of the splendid hospital, and the large palace 
of the Governor is soon to be replaced by a new building 
in the modern European style. Everyone sings the 
praises of King Albert of Belgium, who has not only 
generously renounced his very considerable private 
revenues from the Congo, but has himself contributed 
large sums of money towards the introduction of 

1. Village on the Ubangi, south of Libenge. 

2. Flooded area on the Ubangi near Duma. 

3. Camp on the road from Fort Possel to Fort Crampel. 

4. The Governor's house at Bangi. 

5. Rapids near Bangi. 


modern appliances, and towards combatting the sleep- 
ing sickness. 

It will be time enough to discuss the promised Congo 
reforms together with their influence on international 
trade, which is so closely bound up in them, when they 
have become an accomplished fact — and this is still 
a long way off. 

Now, at any rate, contrary to the assertions of 
biassed newspapers, the natives enjoy considerate 
treatment, not only here, but in many other parts of 
the West Coast, a treatment regarded with grave 
anxiety by such as really understand negro psychology. 
The manner in which justice is administered in some of 
the chief West African towns, in many cases positively 
favouring the negroes to an incredible degree, seriously 
resembles an unaccountable panic. Such obvious 
anxiety not to offend so-called "influential" individuals 
must in the long run have injurious results. For 
natives are quick to recognize timidity, and to take 
advantage of it. I could mention several examples 
bearing out this statement only too well. Every 
traveller should consider it his duty to call attention 
to the need of just but stern government. 

Boma, unlike Duala, was enjoying the dry season. 
Not a drop of rain having fallen since May, the in- 
habitants were anxiously awaiting the first tornado, 
which inaugurates the rainy season about the middle 
of September. At Matadi, we found a temperature of 
70 degrees F. quite chilly ! 

The railway company supplied us with a special 
train at Matadi, and in company with the German 
consul Tecklenburg, we travelled via Thysville to 
Kinshassa, close to Leopolds ville, the railway terminus. 

Visitors to the charming town of Leopoldsville must 


be puzzled to understand why it was chosen as an 
important commercial centre. The powerful Congo 
rapids commence scarcely 550 yards south of the 
town, so that steamers run the risk of being sucked 
into the whirlpool. This fact necessitated the con- 
struction of the Matadi railway. 

A proposal to remove the town further north, near 
the favourable anchorage of Kinshassa, miscarried on 
account of the founder's obstinacy, and it would now 
be impossible owing to the many new institutions, dock- 
yards, locomotive work-shops, etc. 

At Kinshassa we met Dr Haberer, the physician who 
had come from Molundu in the South Cameroons to 
join our expedition. The paddle-steamer " Valerie " 
was waiting to convey us to Bangi, at the bend of 
the Ubangi River. 

On the 30th of August, Dr Schultze and Dr Mildbraed 
took leave of us and set out on their special itinerary 
down the river Ssanga to Molundu, and through the 
South Cameroons. At the close of this very important 
botanical, zoological, and ethnographical expedition, 
before returning home, they intended to visit the 
islands of Annobon, St. Thomas, and Fernando Po, 
whose scientific resources had never been explored. 

The main expedition at first intended to proceed up 
the Congo and Ubangi Rivers as far as Fort de Possel, 
and thence northwards through the river-basins of the 
Gribingi and Shari to Lake Tchad. Later, after re- 
turning from Lake Tchad and investigating Bagirmi, 
we were to march eastwards in two columns to the 
Nile, the one travelling north via Dar-Kuti and Hofrat- 
en-Nahas to Fashoda, and the other taking a more 
southerly direction along the Ubangi and Mbomu 
Rivers, through Bahr-el-Ghazal, towards Meshra-el- 


Rek. The following chapters will indicate the altera- 
tions we were compelled to make in the course of our 

On the morning of the 31st of August the " Valerie " 
was ready to start. The party was composed of seven 
Europeans and fifty-six blacks, with about twelve tons 
of baggage. A short pause at Brazzaville for the 
signing of the custom-house papers proved disastrous, 
for on re-starting, a steam-pipe burst, and necessitated 
a delay of four hours. But at last we were able to 
steam up-stream towards our destination, leaving behind 
us the large cities of modern Africa. The Duke in his 
diary describes as follows the voyage up the Congo and 
Ubangi Rivers, and our stay in the Libenge district : — 

" The scenery on the banks of the Ubangi strongly 
resembles that of the Middle and Upper Congo, from 
its narrower part near Leopoldville. The virgin forest 
reaches down to the water's edge, being interrupted at 
intervals by grass patches. The eye, glad to escape 
the green monotony of the wooded banks, roams over 
these patches, seeking to discover some sign of life, 
some specimen of big game. The spoor of hippopotami 
and elephants, and the signs that numerous buffaloes 
have congregated at night on the clearances near the 
bank, or on some solitary island in mid- stream, confirm 
the statements of the natives as to the abundance 
of these wild beasts. Otherwise, all animal life seems 
extinct ; only one or two solitary crocodiles sun 
themselves with wide-open jaws on the few uncovered 
sand-banks, whilst here and there a hippopotamus, 
on the approach of the steamer, glides into the turbid 
brownish, or even at times inky-black water. 

" The Ubangi, like all the large tributaries of the 
Congo, is enormously broad. In many places it spreads 


out into wide basins, so that we appeared to be steaming 
through a chain of lakes. The ' Valerie,' like all the 
steamers here, employed wood as fuel, and once or 
twice a day the supply was replenished at the ' postes 
a bois,' many of which have a black manager to look 
after the cutting and storing of the wood. 

" Six days after leaving Kinshassa, the ' Valerie,' 
before reaching the mouth of the Ubangi, steamed a 
short distance up the Ssanga, in order to traverse the 
Dizenge Canal, north of Makala, and then back to the 
Congo, after spending the night in the canal. This 
slight detour was of special medical interest, since the 
narrow waterway was swarming with tsetse flies 
(Glossina palpalis). These flies, which transmit sleeping 
sickness, were caught every day on the steamer in large 
quantities. Their blood was at once microscopically 
examined, but not in one single case was a trypanosoma 
identified. And yet the inhabitants were many of 
them infected, and in a surprizing number of cases 
enlarged glands might be observed. 

" On the 13th of September, we at length came to an 
end of this hot voyage, the thermometer every day 
registering 99° F. in the shade. (Illus. 1.) 

"The same afternoon we reached Libenge on the 
Belgian bank, two days' journey from Bangi. Here Dr 
Haberer, Dr Schubotz, Schmidt, and I left the 'Valerie,' 
in order to work for three weeks in the forest and neigh- 
bouring plains. In spite of the friendly assistance of 
Commandant van der Cruyssen, we found great difficulty 
in obtaining bearers. With much trouble we managed 
to obtain fifty men, of whom twenty ran away again 
during the night, thus needlessly delaying our start. 
This small number of carriers being naturally insuf- 
ficient for our baggage, we sent the rest of it on by 










water to Duma-rive under the charge of Doctors 
Schubotz and Schmidt. Here it was easier to find 
bearers for the short one and a half hour's march to 
Duma, which was to be our head- quarters. 

"Haberer and I followed two days later on foot to 
Duma, accompanied by the Belgian lieutenant, Debugre. 
The first day we encountered no difficulties to speak of, 
but the next day we found large tracts of the forest 
under water, the rainy season being not yet at an end. 
(Illus. 2.) For many miles we had to wade, often up 
to our hips in water, and though temporary bridges 
made of tree-trunks had been erected over the impas- 
sable places, the raging stream of the rivers in flood 
overflowed even these to a depth of a couple of feet. In 
time the swimming powers of my Airedale terrier gave 
out and I was obliged to drag him along by the collar. 
Weary, but with baggage intact, we reached Duma in 
the afternoon of September 15th. This town lies out- 
side the woods, but within the forest limits the sleeping 
sickness was very prevalent. Whole villages had died 
out or been abandoned. On all sides we met people 
suffering from this disease, and from many of them we 
obtained blood specimens for examination. 

" The population consists of all kinds of mixed tribes, 
of which the Mono and Bundu, the Banza, Buaka, 
Ngombe, Sanga, and Babanga are the most noteworthy. 
Each possesses its own language and habits, one language 
being often confined to one village, so that it is very 
difficult to make oneself understood. In the neighbour- 
hood of Duma, Sango is the language spoken, and the 
station soldiers learn it. And yet barely an hour's 
journey further on, it is hard to find anyone who under- 
stands Sango. Bangala, or Mangala, as the better 
variety is called, which is the means of intercourse 


throughout the Congo, and on the banks of the 
Ubangi, ceases entirely here. An exhaustive ethno- 
logical study of the miscellaneous population would 
require many months. Education is very backward, 
and it is therefore difficult to collect interesting 

" The districts south of the Ubangi are for the most 
part untrodden by Europeans, and no one ventures 
far inland. Further east the tribes have not yet been 
subdued, and are hostile to Europeans. The weakness 
of the companies makes it impossible to obtain a military 
escort, and, moreover, most expeditions come to grief 
in the matter of obtaining bearers. Even a Belgian 
officer who recently passed through here, for days sought 
in vain to obtain natives who would carry his baggage, 
for according to the new regulations, no compulsion may 
be used ; and since the work of carrying is unpopular, 
it is disdained even at a high price. The bearers will 
carry only for a few hours, often only from one village 
to the next, so that a daily change is necessary, and 
continual palaver is the order of the day. 

" The economic development of the Congo is seriously 
endangered by the new regulations regarding the 
treatment of the natives, and the profits from india- 
rubber have sensibly diminished. Since the Govern- 
ment no longer buys india-rubber from the natives, the 
large collecting stations have become useless. Libenge, 
for example, formerly one of the chief centres of the 
india-rubber trade on the Upper Ubangi, now no longer 
exports it. The only way in which the Government 
can obtain india-rubber is by means of plantations. 
Even here difficulties arise, for the race of labourers 
is dying out, weeds over-run the plantations, and the 
few available men can only clear and tap a small pro- 


portion of the trees. If, therefore, the regulations for- 
bidding the employment of force are to be strictly 
enforced, the Government will be obliged to abandon 
the india-rubber plantations laid out at such great 

"The neighbourhood of Duma up to the edge of the 
forest is moderately well stocked with wild animals, 
the commonest being the water-buck and the wood- 
buck. I also managed to kill two of the rare grass 
antelopes. A leopard was trapped, which two nights 
previously had entered Dr Schubotz' tent and worried 
his dog. We heard a few solitary hyenas, but did not 
succeed in catching one. Buffaloes and elephants are 
also to be found; the former display the small horns 
of the West African variety, whilst the latter grow 
such remarkably poor ivory that they are not worth 
shooting. Gorillas inhabit the west bank of the Ubangi, 
south of Libenge, and chimpanzees the forest east of 
that station, but they are not easy to find. The large 
striped antelope is said to exist near Libenge, though 
not in large numbers. The okapi is entirely wanting in 
this neighbourhood, but is found further north. It is 
specially plentiful in the forests south of Yakoma, near 

"The bird tribe is well represented in the pasture 
lands. In the forest they are much rarer ; we found, 
however, some typical specimens of the great West 
African Hylea, and I am sure our collection will 
contain many new songsters. The hope or rather 
certainty of bringing unknown specimens to the 
Hamburg and Frankfort museums encouraged us in 
our work." 

The Duke, Professor Haberer, Dr Schubotz, and 
Schmidt remained behind in the Libenge district, 


whilst I accompanied the painter Heims and Sergeant- 
Major Roder in the river-steamer " Valerie " to Bangi. 
A most unfortunate accident occurred during the 
voyage. Captain Charles Gaudin was anxious to 
accomplish the journey from Libenge to Bangi in the 
day, boasting that he would reach Bangi before mid- 
night, although river- steamers are strictly forbidden 
to travel by night in the neighbourhood of the rapids. 
After dining with the Captain, we had retired to our 
cabins for the night, when we were awakened by loud 
screams, and the stopping of the engines. We soon 
learned the melancholy reason : Captain Gaudin had 
fallen overboard ! 

When we emerged from our cabins, the steamer was 
hove to in pitch darkness in mid-stream, and our only 
boat, manned by four rowers, had already pushed off 
in search of the Captain. The only way in which we 
could help was by holding lamps over the side, so that 
the Captain might know in which direction to swim. 
Meanwhile the black steersman entirely lost his head, 
and the steamer was soon driven on to the right bank, 
where she struck with a crash. The current was 
particularly strong just there. 

In about an hour the boat came back in despair. In 
spite of the darkness, we ascertained that a village of 
Buakas, called Yakoli, lay wrapped in slumber close at 
hand. We landed, and fetching the people from their 
huts, we got them to man every available native boat, 
and resume the search, whilst we lighted bonfires all 
along the bank. So we watched and waited all through 
the long night, listening intently and hoping against 
hope for news of the Captain, but in vain. When the 
boats returned at dawn empty-handed, we felt sure that 
he was no longer living. 



?l%j ■ 



9. Mandja woman. 

10. Mandja huts. 

1. Old Mandja woman. 

2. Mandja mother and children. 


The accident occurred in the following manner : 
Captain Gaudin went down to the engine-room and 
angrily told the engineer that the ship was not steaming 
fast enough. Dazed by the heat of the stoke-hold, 
in passing the boiler as he returned on deck, he must 
have stumbled and fallen overboard. This is all the 
more probable because just here there was no balustrade, 
and the deck level was only about four inches above 
the water-line. Probably Gaudin then fell underneath 
the vessel, her draught being only about twenty inches, 
and was knocked on the head by the paddle-wheel, 
stunned, and carried away by the force of the current. 
The breadth of the river being here nearly a mile and a 
half, it would not be an easy matter even for a strong 
man to swim ashore. 

It was in a very depressed frame of mind that we 
went back about ten miles in order to thoroughly 
search all the islands, as well as the banks. We wished 
at least to bury the body, but all our efforts proved 
fruitless, and we set off once more for Bangi. A French 
sub-officer from Bimbo, whom we had called to our 
assistance during the night, offered to continue the 
search, but it was not until a week later that the body 
was found near the Belgian bank. Marvellous to 
relate it was intact in spite of the numerous crocodiles, 
and it was buried at the French station of Mongumba. 
We shall always retain a warm feeling of friendship 
for brave, kind-hearted Captain Gaudin. 

Lying in a picturesque situation on the mountain- 
side, Bangi came into view on the evening of the 14th 
of September. This town is the seat of the Govern- 
ment of the French Ubangi-Shari-Tchad district. 
Thanks to the energy of Governor Fourneau, who at 
one time spent his furlough here, it has undergone 


rapid development, the number of Europeans having 
risen in less than five years from ten to seventy, and 
being still on the increase. The few wretched houses 
of which the original Bangi consisted have long ago 
been replaced by fine brick buildings with corrugated 
iron roofs. (Illus. 4.) A large number of shops 
belonging to unassuming Portuguese or shrewd Greeks 
give the negroes the desired opportunity of spending 
in a very short time their day's or week's wages to the 
last penny. 

Every morning all the necessaries of life are put up 
for sale in a large market-place for Europeans and 
negroes alike. Traders from Bornu may be frequently 
seen here, selling at a good profit cattle driven all the 
way from Lake Tchad. The value of an ox in the 
Lake Tchad district amounts to 30 francs, rising in 
Bangi to 100 francs, and the price of a fowl is raised 
from 20 centimes to 2 francs. 

A recently-built little house was kindly placed at our 
disposal, in a pleasant situation on the rocks projecting 
far out into the Ubangi rapids, and thus combining a 
fine view with a constant breeze. Bangi is, in fact, 
a pleasant abode, and the French understand how 
to render life as attractive as possible at the close 
of the day's work. Every evening the members 
of the European colony meet at the club, where all 
kinds of cooling drinks can be obtained and where the 
time passes quickly in lively conversation. 

The river traffic is very active ; many small vessels 
and three large passenger steamers, two of which are 
supplied with electric light and an ice-machine, bring 
a few travellers as well as officials and officers. 

The rainy season still continued, though it was 
beginning to moderate. It lasts here until December, 


differing in this respect from the Shari district, in which 
the dry season had already begun. 

The river had attained its maximum height, 23 feet 
above the usual level. By degrees it distributes south- 
wards its enormous volume of water, which in the bend 
near Bangi, attains a depth of 200 feet. 

Our baggage, consisting of provisions, barter, ammuni- 
tion, and photographic necessaries, was for the most 
part sent on ahead, and deposited at the large towns, 
to await our arrival. A good many cases were, how- 
ever, ruined by the wet. The miserable native boats 
let in a great deal of water, and at the different rapids 
where they had to be unloaded, the packing cases were 
often left for days exposed to the weather and to the 
depredations of the natives. It was heart-breaking 
to see their state when they reached their destination, 
wet, dirty, broken, and pilfered. The meal, cloth, and 
photographic plates especially, although enclosed in a 
double cover, were so spoiled that we could use only a 
very small proportion. The brass padlocks contained 
in one of the cases proved particularly attractive 
to the thieving natives. This shows how necessary it 
is when undertaking expeditions like this, where the 
means of transport are so uncertain, to take only what 
is absolutely essential in the way of baggage. This is 
of course more easily said than done, for a scientific 
expedition cannot accomplish much without a certain 
number of instruments, photographic plates, and material 
for preserving botanical and zoological specimens. 

Only a year ago the traveller up-stream from Bangi 
to Fort de Possel (also called Kemo) was condemned 
to a tiresome seven days' journey in steel boats or 
canoes. The institution of three small steamers has 
made it possible to accomplish this monotonous voyage 


in less than half the time. Nowadays it takes two 
days by steamer and one day in a steel boat to travel 
from Bangi to Possel. The only rapids which still 
successfully measure their strength against the steam- 
engine are encountered during the second day, and 
are the falls of Dongo, the high and rushing " Elephant's 
Falls " and a much lower waterfall near by with an 
equally powerful current. 

The passage of the rapids is laborious and not de- 
void of danger. The boat is drawn to the bank by a 
long chain, and then inch by inch, strong black 
arms, toiling for hours, tow it up-stream, whilst 
all the time branches and twigs from the over- 
hanging trees strike the unfortunate passengers in the 
face. Finding that we travelled barely half a mile 
per hour, we preferred a five hours' walk to Bata, 
mostly through dense, thirteen-foot elephant-grass, and 
being obliged here and there to wade through swamps 
and deep streams. We shot a few silky-tailed 
monkeys, but though we noticed some quite recent 
elephant spoors, and heard the huge creatures crashing 
through the forest, we did not succeed in getting on 
closer terms with them. 

At Bata, the little river-steamer " Cotelle " was 
waiting to convey us to Fort de Possel, where 
we arrived at six o'clock in the evening and were 
hospitably received by the agent of the " Compagnie 
de l'Ouhame." 

The Government station is about 300 yards from 
the settlement of the " Compagnie de l'Ouhame," 
where the Kemo River joins the Ubangi, and it is 
scarcely worthy of being called a fort. There are 
no fortifications of any kind, but an open square, sur- 
rounded by thatched mud-huts, in which the three 


Government officials and their stores find accomoda- 
tion. Its importance lies in the fact that it is the 
starting-point for all transports sent north, i.e. into 
the South Tchad district. The Kemo and Tomi 
rivers are navigable as far as Fort Sibut, also known 
as Krebedje. On the third day of our stay at Fort 
de Possel, we made an excursion to Bessu, one day's 
journey in an easterly direction. It is situated in 
the Togbo territory, belonging to the great Banda 
family. The only mission station of the Shari- 
Ubangi district is known as " La Saint e Famille," 
and was established here several years ago by the 
Fathers of the Holy Ghost. 

We reached Bessu after an oppressively hot seven 
hours' boat journey, and were most kindly received 
by Father Cotelle, the head of the mission. He 
supplied me with valuable ethnographical details con- 
cerning the Togbo tribe. We returned the next day 
to Fort de Possel, and a day or two later set out 
in a westerly direction, on a three hours' expedition, 
to visit the chief Yago. I ascertained that he and 
his people belong to a branch of the great Sabanga 
tribe, and live at Battinga, south of Ndele and south- 
east of Fort Crampel. The journey was excessively 
unpleasant, for we had to walk through long, sharp - 
bladed grass, which continually cut our hands and 
faces. At the same time the heat was greater than 
I have ever before experienced in Africa. 



On the 24th of September the memorable day at 
length arrived when we could set out with a hundred 
bearers on our march north. In order that the 
changing of our bearers every two or three days might 
proceed without a hitch, the French Government 
allotted to us Monsieur Bellivier and two soldiers as 
an escort. 

The northern road is ten to twelve feet in width, 
whilst every seven or eight miles there is a camping 
ground supplied with water. As a rule every alternate 
one is made use of by the traveller, so that the day's 
march comprises about fifteen miles. The encampment 
is composed of one or two miserable mud-huts for Euro- 
peans, with a few round huts and open, rectangular 
sheds for the blacks and riding-beasts. (Illus. 3). There 
is also a house for the accommodation of the militia 
soldiers guarding the camp, and around it a few vege- 
tables are sometimes grown for sale, at a fabulous 
price to European travellers. It is surprising to find 
that the French in this colony possess no tents, 
and are altogether very badly equipped for marching. 
They always sleep in the mud -huts of the camping 
grounds, whereas in German East Africa the sanitary 
authorities have given orders for them all to be burnt 
down, on the ground that they are infested with 
noxious insects conveying all kinds of diseases. 


The French sanitary conditions are very uninviting. 
In the German colonies, every European is provided 
with a tent, and is consequently independent of these 
miserable shelters. Our tents always occasioned 
surprise. The bearers being accustomed to these 
halting places, we were obliged to make use of them ; 
moreover, we could not elsewhere have obtained pro- 
visions, and it was here that the bearers were changed 
every two or three days, since the natives will act as 
carriers only within the narrow confines of their own 

In the French Congo there are no professional carriers, 
as for example in German East Africa, where they 
can be engaged for a whole journey lasting several 
months. I remember that during our 1907-1908 
expedition from Lake Victoria to the heart of the 
Belgian Congo, two hundred Wassukuma bearers accom- 
panied us for quite twelve months. The carrying 
capacity of the bearers in the French Congo is also very 
inferior to that of the German East African carriers. 
The lazy natives are not fond of this work, and con- 
sequently considerable pressure is required in order 
to induce them to undertake it. The soldiers who 
recruit them in the villages are probably not very 
gentle in their methods, and it is therefore not to be 
wondered at that the natives place their villages and 
fields as far as possible from the main roads. A 
traveller on the road between Possel and Crampel 
can scarcely believe that he is in a well-populated 
district, for there are no villages to be seen by the 
roadside. Consequently this neighbourhood is ill- 
adapted for ethnographical research. This road is 
much used, for Europeans travelling to and fro 
in the Shari-Tchad district prefer this route to that 


via the Benue and Niger Rivers. The station 
managers act solely as transport agents, and are 
mere ciphers as regards the administration of their 
districts. The Government reckons that each native 
as a carrier for an average of eight days in the year. 
But in practice this is not carried out, the chief 
always sending the same villagers, who are practically 
homeless and always on the road, whilst their neigh- 
bours pass their time in comparative idleness. The 
relatively high daily wage of Ifr. 10c, besides free 
board, makes little difference to this state of things. 

Compulsory labour seems much more common here 
than elsewhere in the Belgian Congo. We were always 
assured that there would be no difficulty in procur- 
ing carriers. It was, however, only thanks to peremp- 
tory instructions from Brazzaville that we obtained 
them, otherwise probably not a single man would 
have been forthcoming. The soldiers sent out to 
recruit them are often murdered and eaten by the 
enraged natives. Even now it would be unsafe to 
wander from the main road without a large military 

The station managers strictly enforce the regu- 
lation forbidding traders to buy anything direct from 
the natives. All indigenous products, e.g. ivory and 
india-rubber, must be brought to the stations, and 
there sold to the traders through the medium of 
the officials. This certainly prevents the exploita- 
tion of the natives by unscrupulous adventurers, 
such as are to be found in every colony. At the pre- 
sent time this regulation can be enforced, but with 
the future extension of commerce, difficulties will 
doubtless arise. 

The chief trading company of the district north of 











14—35. Ethnoj phi 
14. Quiver. 15. Basket-work quiver. 16 and 17. Shields. 18—21. Spe . 










ioj ts of the Mandja. 

ipc ows. 24—28. Spears. 29—31. Daggers. 32. Arrow-heads. 33—35. Bows. 


the Ubangi, and west of the Krebedje-Nana-Crampel 
line, is the " Compagnie de l'Ouhame et de la Nana," 
which possesses the sole rights for the purchase of 
india-rubber and ivory in this district. On the other 
hand, it is bound to plant a certain number of india- 
rubber trees every year. Another trading company 
is the " Compagnie Ruet " at Dekoa, which has no 
concession, and consequently subsists on the free 
trade of the districts east of the main road. 

Marching along this thoroughfare is very mono- 
tonous, and the surrounding country is quite devoid 
of interest. We constantly traversed grass thirteen 
feet high, and suffered much from the heavy rain and 
swampy ground. The grass screened from sight any 
wild animals, though there were in the neighbourhood 
herds of water-buck, antelopes and buffaloes, and now 
and then we saw a solitary guinea-fowl or monkey. 
It is not until the grass is burned in January and 
February that the hunting prospects improve. At 
Possel we bought some little half-starved, ill-cared- 
for ponies, but they were badly stung by tsetse 
flies, so that they were doomed to death, and we 
usually preferred to walk rather than ride these poor 

The further north we journeyed the higher was the 
grade of both men and horses. Islam predominates 
in the Tchad district, but along the Ubangi, and up 
to the southern part of Bagirmi, the people are chiefly 
heathens. They have been divided into five main 
classes, of which the first four are cannibal : — 

I. The first class comprises the fishing tribes living 
on the banks of the Ubangi, namely the Buaka, the 
Buraka, and the Banziri. 

II. The second is the great Banda class, speaking 


the Banda language. They dwell chiefly east of the 
Shari, and of the main road to the north. There are, 
however, several tribes belonging to it west of the 
above line, along the Ubangi, and even south of this 
river, e.g. the Ngobu, Banza, etc. 

The Bandas seem to have been driven out of their 
home in Dar-Banda, towards the West, South- West, 
and South, by Arab slave-traders, especially the 
African conqueror Rabeh. A few small tribes belong- 
ing to this class are scattered throughout the country 
between Possel and Crampel. They are the Sabanga, 
Ngao, Wadda, Baba, Lagba, Togbo, Ngapu, Ngobu, 
Mbru, Mbagga, Ndi, Mbi, Ka, Ungurra, and others. 
Nearly related are the Longuassi, on both banks of 
the Kuango river, and the Bubu and Yagba, north 
of Mobaye. These Banda tribes resemble one another 
in their manners and customs, weapons, agriculture, 
handicraft, and language. 

III. The third class is that of the Mandjas, who 
live principally west of a line joining Dekoa and 
Crampel. They may be classified with the Bayas, 
who inhabit a large district west of the Shari, extend- 
ing as far as the frontier of the German Cameroons, 
and even to some extent into the German Cameroons 
itself. To this class also belongs the Baka-Mandja 
tribe. The Mandja language is entirely different from 
that of the Bandas. Apparently the Bandas, who 
proved to be the stronger, drove the Mandjas further 
and further west. 

IV. The Ndukas constitute the fourth class ; they 
live for the most part east of the Gribingi, but a few 
tribes are to be found west of this river such as the 
Tani, the Dagba, the Dongura, etc. 

V. To the fifth class belong the Saras, living west, 


east, and north of Fort Archambault. The Ngama 
tribe however (illus. 7), and the Tele tribe, on the West 
bank of the Shari, South of Archambault, also belong 
to this class. 

At our first encampment after leaving Possel, we 
came across the elephant - hunter, Coquelin, a tall 
man with long, black curly hair, and a full beard. 
During the past eighteen months he had shot no fewer 
than 106 elephants, and had thus already made a 
considerable fortune. The French Government is 
foolish enough not to put a stop to such wholesale 
slaughter, and does not even exact a hunting fee. 
To preserve game is unfortunately an unheard-of 
thing in French Congo. 

Coquelin had accustomed himself to live like a 
native, without any of the comforts of civilization, 
and his entire baggage consisted of an old camp 
bedstead and a saucepan. Elephant spoors having 
been detected near our camp, I tracked them with 
Coquelin the following morning through thick bush 
and long grass. After crawling along for three hours, 
we at last came upon a medium-sized elephant, which 
I managed to hit in the head with a bullet, but 
though streaming with blood, the animal unfortun- 
ately got away. We followed the blood-stained tracks 
for about two hours, and then I was obliged to leave 
any further search to M. Coquelin, having still a seven 
hours' march before I could reach our fresh encamp- 
ment. Three days later the elephant was found in 
a dense part of the bush, having been despatched by 
natives. Three weeks later the Duke also met 
Monsieur Coquelin, and in his diary describes the 
meeting as follows : — 

" On the 17th of October, I had a long, but un- 


profitable day's hunting with Monsieur Coquelin. We 
marched through the bush from 5 to 8 a.m., without 
finding any fresh spoors, and finally reached a small 
village, whose inhabitants negatived our hopes of 
finding elephants. We came to another village at 
about half-past ten, whence we sent out scouts in 
three directions, and about noon learned that fresh 
elephant spoors had been found. Meanwhile we 
had partaken of a few cooked beans and sweet 
potatoes. My boy having forgotten my flask, we 
were reduced to drinking river-water, which certainly 
was not scented with attar of roses ! At 1.30 we 
reached the spoor, which we followed till 4.30, the 
elephants all the while tramping on ahead through 
grass and swamps, up hill and down dale. At 
length we gave up in despair, and at sunset started 
homewards. Fortunately for us there was a moon, 
otherwise we should certainly have lost our way, es- 
pecially as we had to traverse three densely wooded 
swamps. After we had been marching for about two 
hours, we asked one of the guides how far we were from 
home. To our dismay, he pointed to the rising moon, 
and then straight overhead, which meant that by 
the time the moon was in the zenith we should be 
at home, that is to say, in another six hours at 
the earliest. A thunderstorm overtook us, and we 
stumbled along in pitch darkness, broken only by 
vivid lightning flashes. Soaked to the skin, we 
reached our flooded camping ground at ten o'clock 
at night, and after wading up to our hips in water, 
at last reached our tents. We had been on our feet 
since midday, having been absent seventeen hours, 
during fifteen of which we were on the march, covering 
altogether about forty miles." 


The above narrative gives some idea of the difficulties 
encountered by elephant hunters. A few months later 
Coquelin met with a sad death : he was tracking his 
107th elephant, when it attacked him, and gored him 
with its tusks. In spite of severe wounds he lived 
long enough to be carried to Bangi, where he died in 

At the next camping ground, in a Mbru village, we 
changed bearers for the first time. Having to wait 
two days while the people were being collected, we 
spent the time in ethnographical studies. 

The Mbrus are a subdivision of the Bandas, and 
inhabit the country of the same name on both sides 
of the road from Possel to Krebedje. Their manners 
and customs differ but little from those of the remain- 
ing Banda tribes such as the Togbo, Sabanga, etc. 

Two days' march brought us to Fort Sibut, or 
Krebedje, in the territory of the Ndis, another Banda 
tribe. The Government Station is separated from 
the offices of the " Compagnie de l'Ouhame et de la 
Nana " by the Tomi River, which is usually 10 feet 
wide, but was now swollen to a breadth of nearly 130 
feet. The District Governor, Monsieur Coupe, and the 
manager of the above-mentioned Company welcomed 
us in the most friendly fashion. Near the station was 
the camp of a French officer, who was commissioned 
to construct a motor road between Krebedje and 
Crampel. Its completion will considerably diminish 
the difficulties of transport in this district, and the 
natives will be overjoyed, since it will lessen the hated 
work of carrying, and enable them to attend more 
to the cultivation of their fields. It took us three 
days to march across the watershed between the river 
basins of the Shari and the Ubangi to Dekoa, a small, 


primitive Government Station in a district inhabited 
by a mixed Banda and Mandja population. 

While Heims and Roder proceeded north along 
the main road, I made a week's excursion into 
the country west of Dekoa, in order to come into 
closer touch with the Mandja people. I marched 
south-west to the Kumi River, which I followed 
north for a short distance, and thence eastwards 
till I reached the camp at Nana. Excellent inter- 
preters enabled me to obtain information from the 
natives concerning the manners and customs of their 
tribe, and to collect valuable ethnographical data. 
At first we found the villages full of natives, but later 
on, near the Kumi River, in the Buka Station dis- 
trict, most of the inhabitants had disappeared. A 
short time before, a soldier had been murdered and 
eaten by the natives, and their consciences being on 
this account uneasy, they supposed that I had come 
to punish them. The burning camp fires testified 
to the fact that the natives had not been gone 

There are no large villages in the Mandja territory, 
but here and there a few huts crowded together. (Illus. 
10.) A few provision dealers are always to be found in 
this barren neighbourhood, also the usual medicine and 
fetish huts, surrounded by all kinds of strange con- 
trivances which owe their existence to Mandja 

Everywhere, even in the thickly populated dis- 
tricts, it was exceedingly difficult to obtain food for 
our small party, urgent applications to the chief pro- 
ducing no effect whatever. The chiefs, of whom 
there are a great many in the Mandja country, have 
absolutely no authority over their subjects, the govern- 


ment being highly democratic. A chief cannot 
punish any of his subjects, and has no means of 
enforcing obedience. Everyone fends for himself, 
for there is no court of justice, and consequently the 
blood feud plays an important role. 

Poison or fire trials are employed in order to detect 
crime. Supposing a man is accused of theft, he has 
to hold his hand in a fire, and if it burns him, he is 
considered to be guilty. In other cases he may be 
forced to drink poison ; if he dies, his guilt is held to 
be proven, otherwise he is innocent. 

During my previous African travels I made fre- 
quent inquiries as to the ages of the negro children. 
Comparing them with European children, I always 
overshot the mark, for the negro child develops physi- 
cally much faster than the European. A negro girl 
of ten would pass with us for at least eighteen. 

By comparing many Mandja children, I ascer- 
tained that physical distortion is undertaken at 
certain definite ages. They have their ears pierced 
at the age of four, their noses at five, and their 
upper lips a year later. When they are about eight 
years old, their canine teeth are filed to a point, and 
at the age of nine, both sexes are circumcised. At 
ten the children are sexually mature, and the girls 
are married at this early age. (Illus. 9, 11, 12.) 

The circumcision festivities and the Samali cere- 
monial are important events in the life of a Mandja. 
As soon as the children of both sexes are grown up, 
they have to spend three months away from their 
village in temporary huts built for this purpose. A 
fetish man initiates them into the history and customs 
of their tribe, and teaches them special dances and 
songs, as well as a secret language called Samali. When 


the three months are over, the Samali feast begins, 
a special dress being worn. For the women this con- 
sists of rich cowrie shell embroidery on the chest and 
shoulders, and a short grass skirt ; the men wear 
straw caps adorned with gaudy feathers. (Vide 
coloured plate and Illus. 8.) 

At the new moon, young and old assemble at the 
place in the forest where the Samali scholars have 
been spending their time of seclusion, and amid sing- 
ing and dancing, the latter are conducted back to the 
village. There, with appropriate ceremonial, they are 
given a new name, and are fully admitted into the 
Samali Society. At the close of this function, much 
drinking and feasting takes place, the highly intoxi- 
cating maize beer playing an important part. During 
my travels in the Mandja country, I had many oppor- 
tunities of listening to the melodious Samali songs, 
and witnessing the dances. (Illus. 13.) 

The Mandjas get their living, partly by means of 
agriculture, partly by hunting. Their only domestic 
animals are small, yellow, prick-eared dogs and a few 
skinny hens. They possess no cattle of any kind. 
During the dry season, hunting is actively carried on, 
but when sufficient meat is not forthcoming, they 
resort to cannibalism. The Mandjas, unlike the 
Congo natives, would not admit that they were 
cannibals, but their places of slaughter, with scat- 
tered skulls and human bones, were quite sufficient 

The second part of my journey into the Mandja 
country was intensely disagreeable, for the rain poured 
down in torrents, and twenty times a day we had to 
wade up to our necks through rivers and swamps. 
Marching through the long, thick grass and thorn 


bushes was very tedious, and resulted in many 
skin- wounds. I had the misfortune to lose some 
valuable packages whilst fording a river ; one of my 
cameras fell into the water and was utterly ruined, 
as were also all the photograph films. Our guide, partly 
through fear, partly through ill-nature, led us several 
times astray, so that we went considerably out of our 
way, and at times had to force a road through the 
bush. I reached Nana quite exhausted after a diffi- 
cult crossing of the raging river of the same name. 
My small canoe capsized, and I was obliged to save 
myself by swimming. 

At Nana, Sergeant-Major Roder met me with the 
sad news that Heims was lying seriously ill in camp 
at Nana Ke. Soon after leaving Dekoa, he had an 
attack of high fever, followed by severe prostration, 
and his condition was not exactly improved by the 
journey. Roder had consequently sought medical 
aid from Fort Crampel, three days' journey to the 
North. Fortunately a military doctor happened to 
be passing through, and soon arrived by forced marches. 
Finding Heims so ill, I decided to dismiss the bearers 
and remain at Nana Ke. 

Nana was until recently a Government station, 
and the houses were therefore in a better state than 
at most of the camping stations along the main 

By the 16th of October, Heims had partially re- 
covered. On the 19th we received the first news 
of His Highness : that he had passed Bangi and had 
reached Fort Sibut, that Schubotz was continuing 
his zoological studies in the Libenge district, and that 
Dr Haberer was hastening to Nana to take charge of 
Heims. On the 24th of October, the long looked- 


for European post arrived at last, this being but the 
second time that we had received news from home. 
Dr Haberer arrived the same day, and on the 25th 
of October the Duke joined us. Heims, being still 
in need of rest, remained behind with Professor 
Haberer, whilst the Duke, Ruet, Roder, Schmidt, 
and I proceeded to Crampel. We camped for a day 
beside the splendid Nana River waterfall (illus. 
36), and Monsieur Lacascade brought us the unwel- 
come news that for the present there were no rowing- 
boats available for our journey to Archambault. 
The Duke therefore decided to remain in camp by the 
waterfall, instead of proceeding to Fort Crampel, 
sixty miles further on. This station is built on a 
bare rock, reflecting such an intense heat that 
one could almost fancy oneself in an oven. I pro- 
ceeded thither in order to obtain the necessary 
supplies. Day and night I was tormented by mos- 
quitoes, sand-flies, and all kinds of noxious insects. 
The sanitary condition of Crampel leaves much to 
be desired, and my one wish was to leave it as soon 
as possible. 

On the 30th of October, the Duke moved his camp 
to the left bank of the Gribingi, opposite Crampel, 
and as no boats were forthcoming, he decided to march 
with as little luggage as possible, accompanied by 
Herr Roder, via Kabo, along the left bank of the 
Gribingi to Archambault. 

I remained behind until the 6th of November, when 
at last I was able to proceed up the Gribingi in a steel 
boat. (Illus. 39.) Meanwhile Professor Haberer and 
Heims had arrived at the waterfall from Nana Ke, 
and were to follow me later by boat. Unfortunately 
this time of year was most unfavourable for hunting, 


the grass being very thick and over six feet high. The 
current was very strong, and the water had far over- 
flowed its banks. I saw no villages between Crampel 
and Archambault, so that no ethnographical work 
was possible. The strong current and high water 
bore the boat rapidly along, with little trouble to the 
rowers, and in seven days I reached Archambault. 
I was severely bitten during the voyage by savage 
flies (Glossina morsitans). The normal width of the 
Gribingi is 30 feet at Crampel, 60 feet at Lutos, and 
130 feet at Ireua ; in the dry season the water is so 
shallow that extensive sand-banks offer serious ob- 
stacles to the passage of boats. The birds on the 
banks of the Gribingi are most interesting ; Schubotz 
writes about them as follows : — 

" On almost every tree sat a pair of lovely bee- 
eaters, with grass-green backs and brick-red throats. 
Where the bank formed a perpendicular mud wall, it 
was pierced like a sieve by the entrances to the nests 
of coveys of birds, dozens of the little creatures clinging 
to it like swallows to a gutter. Four different kinds 
of fisher-birds, belonging to the same family as our 
kingfisher, but with more brilliant plumage, shot like 
arrows from one bank to the other. Flocks of green 
parrots (love-birds) flew off whistling and screeching 
at the approach of our boats, whilst numerous turacous, 
birds peculiar to Africa, fluttered half-hopping, half- 
running on the branches. Eagles, herons, darters, 
cormorants, ducks, coveys of guinea-fowl, and many 
kinds of lapwings and snipe paid little attention to our 
boats, flying on a short distance ahead, and then 
dropping back." 

On the fifth day we reached Irena, at the beginning 
of the Shari, which results from the junction of the 


Gribingi and Bamingi rivers. The scenery suddenly 
changed, the forests that border all rivers between 
the fifth and eighth latitudes coming here to an end. 
The country on both sides of the river now consisted 
of " steppes," i.e. sparsely wooded plains, covered 
with ten-foot grass. Great sandbanks, resembling the 
North Sea downs, border the river for many miles ; 
they are the abode of countless water-fowl, and in the 
heat of the day afford sleeping-places for crocodiles. 
I saw many of the latter, but on land they are very 
timid, and practically never allow themselves to be 
taken by surprise. I wasted no ammunition on them, 
for it is better sport to shoot them in the water, where 
they are much bolder, and show the tops of their heads 
and their nostrils. When shot in the head, if the bullet 
penetrates, it reaches the brain. The animal thrashes 
the water with his mighty tail, turns on his back, ex- 
posing his white stomach, and then sinks to the bottom, 
the blood-stained water marking the spot. 

Near the village of Koragana, I saw a caravan ap- 
proaching, which I recognised as that of the Duke ; 
we signalled to one another, and met at a village of 
the Sara Benangas. Unfortunately the prospect of 
a day's hunting induced me to delay setting out for 
Archambault, and consequently I arrived there too 
late to prevent the departure of the steamer " Leon 
Blott " for Fort Lamy, the Company's agent having 
allowed it to start without us. This misunderstand- 
ing lost us much time, and caused us considerable 

At Archambault, on the 18th of November, I met 
Sergeant-Major Roder, who had followed us by boat, 
and the same evening the Duke arrived on foot from 
Koragana. Captain Cross, the Governor of this 

37 and 38. Banda in a sham fight. 


station, was a typical Frenchman, clever and energetic, 
and we also met here Captain Chambon, on his way 
to found a new station in the disturbed district round 
Bambari, on the Kuango River, a tributary of the 

Although Captain Cross has greatly improved Fort 
Archambault, we found it as unattractive as the other 
French stations we had visited. Until recently it 
consisted merely of half a dozen thatched mud-huts 
surrounded by a strong, loop-holed wall. This little 
fort was the chief defence of the French during their 
wars with Rabeh. 

Since the conclusion of peace, dwelling-houses and 
warehouses have been built outside the fortifications, 
but even these are not sufficient ; some French officers 
who were travelling through, were obliged to take up 
their abode in the prison, owing to every available 
lodging being occupied by our party. 

The population around Archambault is entirely 
heathen, but Mohammedans of many races have con- 
gregated in the town in the interests of trade — cattle, 
horses, ivory, cloth, and salt being the chief articles 
of commerce. 

Unfortunately very unsatisfactory news was brought 
from Ndele, the capital of Dar-Kuti. The French 
Government was expecting trouble there with 
Sultan Mohammed Senussi and was therefore not at 
all anxious that any part of our expedition should 
travel through this district. So we were informed 
that it would be advisable to alter our route, and not 
go, as we had originally intended, via Ndele and Hofrat- 
en-Nahas to the Nile. 

This was particularly inconvenient for me, as I had 
arranged to meet Dr Schubotz at Ndele the following 


January, and I had already sent on part of my baggage. 
We had set our hearts above all things on reaching 
Lake Tchad, and in order not to lose any more time 
in waiting for the steamer, we decided to travel on foot 
with as little baggage as possible, from Archambault 
to Ndele, leaving the rest of the party to follow by the 
next steamer. Thence we could all proceed together 
to Fort Lamy. 

The districts .north of Fort Archambault, which 
we now entered, have earned a world-wide reputation 
owing to their having been the scene of sanguinary 
and decisive battles between the French and the slave- 
trader Rabeh. Hence a short resume of this man's 
life, taken from Max Freiherr's book, " Rabeh and the 
Tchad district," may be of interest. 

Rabeh was the son of a certain Fadel Allah, who 
was supposed to have been born at Sennar, a free 
Mohammedan. But he was in reality a negro, and not 
an Arab, as his son Rabeh preferred to believe. Cap- 
tured by Egyptian soldiers during a punitive expedition, 
Fadel Allah was assigned to a Soudanese battalion. 
Rabeh too was intended for military service, but was 
bought off at the price of two slaves. He then went 
to Bahr-el-Ghazal, and entered the service of Ziber 
Pasha, with whom he remained until 1879. Ziber 
was one of the best-known slave-hunters of Bahr-el- 
Ghazal, and attained such power that he soon came 
to be recognised as the sole ruler of this district. As 
Ziber needed armed soldiers, Rabeh, who surpassed 
his companions in energy and intelligence, found it 
an easy matter to rise to the rank of an officer and 
leader of a detachment. The Khedive Ismail Pasha 
then appointed Ziber Governor of the province of 
Bahr-el-Ghazal, and in this capacity he went to Darfur 


and conquered it. But the Khedive, doubting the 
expediency of this move, decided to reward Ziber 
merely with the title of Pasha, at the same time ap- 
pointing Ejub Pasha Governor in Hussein Pasha's 
place. Ziber went to Cairo with a large following 
in order to complain to the Khedive, but was not 
destined to return. Twenty-five years elapsed before 
he again saw his old home. He left Idris waud Defler 
as Vice-Governor at Dem Ziber, the capital of Bahr-el- 
Ghazal, and his son Soliman in Darfur. The latter, 
as son of the powerful Ziber, soon succeeded in obtain- 
ing great power in Bahr-el-Ghazal, threatening the 
Government with open revolt, should his father fail 
to return from Cairo. General Gordon was at this 
time Governor of the Soudan, and he succeeded in 
pacifying Soliman. In 1877 the latter became 
Governor of Bahr-el-Ghazal. Idris waud Defler im- 
mediately complained to General Gordon, who believed 
his aspersions, and reinstated Idris as Governor in 
Soliman's place. Whereupon Soliman attacked Idris, 
and early in 1878 beseiged Dem Ziber. 

Gessi Pasha, the well-known Italian, was sent to 
punish this open rebellion, and he defeated Soliman, 
pursuing him from place to place. By order of General 
Gordon, Gessi at the same time turned his attention 
to the slave-traders, who were unceremoniously seized 
and taken to Khartoum, in the hopes of dealing a fatal 
blow to the slave trade. Soliman was thus deprived 
of the means of obtaining weapons and ammunition, 
and accordingly he finally surrendered to Gessi. Rabeh 
was among those who warned him against this fatal 
step, but Soliman disregarded this advice. With 
kettledrums sounding, Rabeh then left Soliman's 
camp for ever, followed by several thousands of his 


former master's best warriors, who preferred the rest- 
less existence of war to a disgraceful surrender. From 
that time Rabeh grew in importance. 

He marched south and annexed Dar-Banda, ex- 
tending his conquests as far as the Mbomu. After 
forcing the sultans of Bangassu to pay tribute, 
and subduing Dar-Kuti, he turned his attention to 
Bagirmi, whose Sultan Garuang fled and was besieged 
for five months in Mandjafa. Hunger forced him to 
surrender this town, and he fled up the Shari to 
Kusseri, whilst Rabeh proceeded to the Logone. Eye- 
witnesses relate that the hunger in Mandjafa was so 
great that the inhabitants were reduced to eating the 
straw off the roofs, leaves, dogs, and horses. 

Even the dreaded Wadais did not arrest Rabeh's 
victorious march ; he routed them utterly and drove 
the scattered remnants of their army into the moun- 
tains. In this manner his genius conquered a 
kingdom extending from Wadai and Kanem in the 
North to Adamaua in the South, and from the Egyp- 
tian Mahdi kingdom in the East to Sokoto in the West. 
He made himself the undisputed ruler of the whole 
Tchad district, and was known as the Napoleon of 

But as soon as the French took up arms in earnest 
against him, his downfall was as meteoric as his rise. 
Gentil set out against him from Gribingi, the present 
Fort Crampel, sending on ahead as scouts a detach- 
ment of about fifty Senegalese under the Adminis- 
trator Bretonnet. The latter met Rabeh in the Niel- 
lim Mountains, and a battle took place. Despite a 
reinforcement of 400 of Garuang's warriors, the gallant 
little band of Frenchmen were beaten, Bretonnet and 
several other officers being cut down. A wooden 


cross now marks the spot where, thirteen years ago, 
this devoted column perished. 

But fate was dogging the heels of the all- conquering 
Rabeh. Hard pressed by the French, in August of 
the same year he engaged them in a murderous battle 
at Kuno. It was as much as Rabeh could do to re- 
pulse the enemy, and a large number of his men were 
killed, Rabeh himself being severely wounded. It 
was his last success. 

Once more there was a deadly conflict, and Rabeh 
met his end at Kusseri, where three French columns 
were united under Lamy. Rabeh sold his life dearly, 
for the French commanders, Lamy and Cointet, died 
on the field of battle for the honour of France. This 
victory established French sovereignty around Lake 
Tchad. Rabeh's sons in vain took up arms ; they 
were beaten, and their forces scattered. 

On the 19th of November, the Duke, Monsieur 
Ruet, and I crossed the flooded Bahr-Sara in a native 
boat, and marched through deep swamps along the 
bank. There were numerous buffalo and antelope 
tracks leading to the river, but it was only in a few open 
spaces where the grass had been burned that we caught 
sight of any game, and shot a few lyre antelopes. It 
was unfortunately too early for hunting, as the grass 
was still too high, not having yet been burned down 
by the natives. Finding it impossible to obtain water 
and provisions at the village of Yoki, we took advan- 
tage of a glorious moonlight night to march on. 
Most of the way there was no beaten track, and we 
had to push on through long spiky grass that scratched 
our faces, and continually endangered our eyes. 

Since leaving Archambault, we had been travelling 
through the territory of the Saras, described earlier 


in this chapter under Class V. of the native tribes. 
The Saras may be divided into two sub-classes : the 
Sara Kabbas, living east of the Shari and the Sara 
Mbays, and Madjingais, west of the Shari. 

The Sara Kabbas dwell chiefly within a triangle, 
of which one side is formed by the Shari for a distance 
of about 50 miles above, and 25 miles below Fort 
Archambault, the second by the Bahr-Salamat, and the 
third by the nineteenth meridian. In this district as 
well as north-east of Archambault, dwell the various 
Kabba tribes : the Benangas, Maras, Simmes, Gulfes, 
Mbangas, Ties, Bambaras, etc. 

The other sub-class of the Saras is to be found prin- 
cipally between the Shari and the Bahr-Sara on the one 
side, and the Pennde River as far as its junction with 
the Logone on the other side. It includes the Sara 
Mbays, Sara Madjingais, Gulleis, Tumaks, Koms, 
Pallaks, Sara Bals, Sara Kutus, etc., and perhaps also 
the Ndamms and the Miltus. 

Closely related to the Saras are the Ngama and 
Tele tribes living further south between Kabo and 
Koragana. It would take too long to write down all 
my observations concerning these tribes, and only 
the most striking facts will be recorded. 

The huts belonging to the natives of the Sara tribes 
are cleverly built with plaited mats. The courtyard 
is surrounded with a mat fence, which forms an 
entrance passage shaped like a snail-shell. (Illus. 41.) 
Other kinds of plaited work, especially their provision 
baskets, show great skill. The people get their living 
chiefly by means of agriculture, and only to a small 
extent by hunting and fishing. Cannibalism is not 
practised, and is said never to have taken place. 
Although many of the natives have come in contact 

40. Fort Arehambault. 

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ay, ^^B 

h3%$2*rsl-: ..^ 



Jr&ii. i 



^^BSBfcffBM™»iE7lfc#^^*^ "" '*r 

41. Sara huts with mat fences. 

42. Sara in the camp at Jundu. 

43. Among the rocks of Niellim. 


with Islam, they have remained entirely heathen. 
Circumcision is not practised among the Saras. 

The Jundu ceremonies are very important, being 
performed in order to avert sickness and to ensure 
good harvests. As in the case of the Mandja Samali 
festivities, the young people who are to take part in 
this ceremonial have to live away from their villages 
for several months, restricting themselves to a certain 
diet, and avoiding the opposite sex. Those who are 
to take part in the Jundu allow their hair to grow long, 
paint their bodies red, excepting for their face which 
is white- washed, and practise special songs and dances. 
Women are never allowed to assist at these festivities. 
We paid a visit to the young people in their Jundu 
camp, and watched their proceedings with interest. 
(Illus. 42.) 

At Kemkinja, a village of the Sara Bals, we came 
to one of the lofty granite mountains which are very 
numerous in this part, and which the natives convert 
into natural fortifications for their villages. " Bal," 
in the Sara language, means " rocky mountain," and 
the Sara people living here are known as Sara Bals. 
From afar we could see their huts clinging like swallows' 
nests to the rocks. Adjoining the Kemkinja rocks, 
we passed other rocky mountains, from which we could 
see the Shari glistening like a silver thread in the sun- 
light, and then we climbed down through a narrow 
gorge into the Niellim country. (Illus. 43.) In the 
distance we could hear the beating of Sultan Togbau's 
huge war-drum, which was made from a single tree- 
trunk, and is about 10 feet high, and \\ feet across. 
(Illus. 44.) Togbau prefers to spend most of his 
time near Fort Archambault, and comes to Niellim 
only for a few months in the year. His tribe con- 


sists at the present time of about 1000 people, of whom 
400 are men ; they inhabit five villages, of which Kini 
is the largest. 

Formerly the Niellims were a wealthy tribe, living 
on the right bank of the Shari with large herds of 
cattle, but they have been almost exterminated by 
the Wadais and by Rabeh's campaigns. The few sur- 
viving people have now retired into the Kini Mountains 
on the left bank of the Shari. 

Togbau fought at one time with Rabeh, and became 
a Mohammedan. He wears the gaudy shirt which 
was the uniform of Rabeh's warriors, with a turban 
wrapped round his head. (Illus. 45.) The Niellims on 
the contrary are heathens, and wear nothing but the 
customary loin-cloth. They get their living by agri- 
culture, hunting and fishing, and they possess a few 
cattle. At the yearly feast in honour of the dead, the 
Niellims always return to their former home on the 
right bank of the Shari. 

Two specially typical customs may here be described. 
Supposing a Niellim is accused of theft, a peculiar 
ordeal is resorted to in order to decide whether he is 
innocent or guilty. The accused is made to thrust 
his hand into a bee-hive ; if the bees sting him, he is 
guilty, and vice versa. But it must be very rare for 
an accused man to be acquitted, seeing that the bees 
are carefully irritated beforehand. There is also a 
very peculiar dance, which we had daily opportunity 
of witnessing, and which I have never seen elsewhere. 
Men and women stand in two opposing lines, dancing 
and swaying to and fro, and at the same time skilfully 
throwing to each other the tails of sheep, giraffes, and 
other animals. The dancers sing and clap their hands 
to the accompaniment of drums and flutes. 






Although our stay among the Niellims was full of 
interest, we soon became anxious to move on. The 
rocks reflected an intolerable heat ; the atmosphere 
was like that of a Turkish bath, the thermometer 
often registering a temperature of 94° F. even at five 
o'clock on a cloudy afternoon, whilst at night it never 
fell below 76° F. This is not surprising, considering 
that we were in about lat. 10° N., and it is well known 
that it is much hotter there than nearer the Equator. 

The time of year was still unfavourable for obtain- 
ing zoological specimens, though at night we could 
hear lions roaring, and the tracks of many water- 
bucks and antelopes were visible by day. We 
anxiously awaited the arrival of a steamer from Arch- 
ambault, and great was our disappointment when 
two vessels passed by without stopping or taking the 
slightest notice of our frantic signals. 

At length we began to despair, and felt like Robinson 
Crusoe on his solitary island, especially as our store 
of provisions was getting low. 

On the 1st of December at nine o'clock in the even- 
ing, a boat suddenly appeared bringing a letter from 
Captain Chambon, informing us that his steamer was 
close at hand, but that he could not possibly take us 
on board, as both his own vessel and the accompany- 
ing steel boat (illus. 47), was already laden down 
to the water's edge. Two officers, eight European 
sub-officers, and a whole company of Senegal soldiers 
were on board with their baggage. He also told us 
of a fresh reverse sustained by the French in Wadai. 

The Governor of the French Tchad district, Colonel 
Moll, had set out from Abesher in order to avenge the 
destruction of Fiegenschuh's column, and the murder 
of the explorer Boyd Alexander. He had been attacked 


by the combined forces of the Wadais and Massalits, 
and had been killed together with most of his European 
officers and many of his Senegal soldiers. It was the 
worst disaster that had ever befallen the French in 
these parts. We were obliged to wait for further details 
until we reached Fort Lamy. 

Far on into the night we sat together in our tent 
discussing the situation. Our fear that this new 
disaster would materially affect the success of our 
expedition was realized the following day, for under 
the circumstances it was out of the question for us 
to proceed with the soldiers to Fort Lamy, military 
transport naturally taking precedence of our expedition. 

At our request the overloaded steamer conveyed us 
as far as Damrau, and Sultan Togbau, glad at last 
to be rid of us, undertook to forward our baggage in 
rowing boats. 

We remained one day at the small station of 
Dumrau ; I stayed in bed, trying to shake off an 
attack of fever. 

On the 10th of December we were at last released 
by the steamer " Leon Blott," sent from Fort Lamy 
to fetch us. (Illus. 48.) We passed Mandjafa, the 
former capital of Bagirmi, and on the ISth of December 
reached Fort Lamy in safety. 



Fort Lamy owes its name to the brave French com- 
mander who, twelve years ago, lost his life in a decisive 
battle against Rabeh, at Kusseri in German territory. 
Its population is composed of about sixty Europeans, 
and innumerable natives of every conceivable race. 

There are also many Shoa-Arabs, who have lived 
here for some years, and occupy at least a quarter 
of the whole town. Another quarter is taken up by 
people of the Sara tribes, together with Salamat and 
Dekakire Arabs. Numerous Bornu traders offer their 
wares daily in the market. It is distressing to see 
European rubbish side by side with the really artistic 
native handicraft, and changing hands at high prices. 
People from Kanem and even from Tripoli are fre- 
quently to be met among the natives of Bagirmi. AH 
kinds of industries are carried on, especially basket- 
making, working in silver, tailoring, shoemaking, 
weaving, and dyeing. Red or natural- coloured goat- 
skin Wellington boots are very popular among the 
Europeans, the cheap price of two Maria-Theresa thalers 
ensuring a ready sale. We inspected the work of the 
native craftsmen, and were surprised to see a German 
sewing-machine in a tailor's workshop ! 

We found people in Fort Lamy very downcast over 
the events at Wadai ; the severe blow inflicted on the 
French, and at the same time on the whole white race, 



by the death of Colonel Moll and his staff, giving rise 
to much discussion. The following brief summary 
of the events leading up to this disaster may be of 

In the spring of 1910 Captain Fiegenschuh's column 
was treacherously attacked and annihilated. The 
Sultan of the Massalits had offered his submission to 
the Captain, who instead of summoning him to come 
and discuss the conditions, made the fatal mistake 
of himself going to visit the Sultan. At Diergi, on a 
tributary of the Rahr-Salamat, not far from Dorote, 
the Sultan rode to meet Captain Fiegenschuh, accom- 
panied by hundreds of his warriors, as is customary 
in a friendly reception. The too-confiding Captain 
took this as a sign of peaceable intentions, never sus- 
pecting treachery. The Massalits hurled themselves 
upon the astonished Frenchmen, whose weapons were 
not even loaded, and cut them to pieces, with the 
exception of a few Senegalese who escaped to bring 
news of the disaster to Fort Lamy. 

A little later, the English explorer, Boyd Alexander, 
was travelling, in the face of warnings, through Wadai 
to Darfur, when he was set upon near Abesher and 

In order to avenge these misdeeds, Colonel Moll, 
Governor of the French Tchad district, led an expedi- 
tion in November 1910 against the Wadais and Mas- 
salits. On the 9th he was camping at Dorote, close 
to the frontier between Wadai and Darfur. Early 
in the morning a French subaltern, who had gone 
out to collect wood, saw suspicious figures lurking in 
the bush. He ran back to warn the Colonel, who at 
once called his men to arms and formed them up in 

47. French steel boat on the Shari. 

48. Steamer "Leon Blott" ready to cast off. 


In the centre stood Moll with his staff and artillery. 
It was none too soon, for the enemy, consisting of 
mixed cavalry and infantry, 5000 strong, charged the 
French. They were received with a withering fire, the 
artillery playing an important part, but the French 
line was broken by the force of numbers, and a terrible 
hand-to-hand struggle ensued. The Colonel and his 
staff were immediately surrounded and cut down, 
their bodies being riddled with spears and daggers ; 
the Massalits lost their Sultan and 500 men. Sultan 
Dudmurrah and many Wadai men also took part in 
the fight. The French defended themselves heroi- 
cally, and finally repulsed the overwhelming numbers 
of the enemy ; Captain Faure took up the pursuit, 
and inflicted on the allied Mohammedans a further 
loss of several hundred men, Dudmurrah, the Sultan 
of Wadai, begin among the wounded. Later on we 
heard that the attack of the allied Wadais and 
Massalits was so sudden and unexpected that Moll 
and his staff were killed before the French troops 
could open fire on the enemy. The disorder at the 
time of the attack was further increased by the 
camels breaking loose and stampeding through the 

The punishment of the Wadais and Massalits could 
not be undertaken until fresh reinforcements had 
arrived from France and from Senegal. But every 
soldier, every bearer, and every beast of burden in the 
Tchad district was being requisitioned for the pro- 
jected campaign, so that naturally enough, our own 
expedition, which also needed bearers and provisions, 
was not very welcome in that neighbourhood just 
No one knew how far south the unrest in Wadai 


extended, and as the news from Ndele, the residence 
of Mohammed Senussi, Sultan of Dar-Kuti, was most 
unfavourable, it was out of the question for us to 
travel in that part without a military escort, And 
this, for the aforesaid reasons, could not be spared 
to us by the French. 

The Duke finally decided to remain in the Tchad 
district, and unwillingly gave up the idea of pushing 
on in person to the Nile. But in order not to abandon 
altogether our projected travels in the Ubangi, Mbomu, 
and Bahr-el-Ghazal sultanates, he decided that Ser- 
geant-Major Roder and I should return to the Ubangi, 
and accompany Dr Schubotz to the Nile. 

Before taking leave of the Duke, we spent several 
pleasant days at the German station, Kusseri. The 
Duke wrote in his diary as follows : — 

" Kusseri, the headquarters of the German Tchad 
district government, is situated opposite Fort Lamy 
on the Logone River a few hundred yards above its 
junction with the Shari, which is here very wide. 
(Illus. 51, 55.) The water is at its lowest level in 
March, and the aspect of the country is said to be 
entirely altered by the appearance of fields, which 
during the rainy season form the bed of the river. 

" Our visit happened to be on the third and last day 
of the Mohammedan festival, many people being 
assembled in the square. This gave us some idea of 
the pomp and splendour which the native sultans 
love to display. 

"Passing through the imposing town gates (illus. 
53), we found ourselves in an immense square which 
contained thousands of people surrounding the little 
six-year-old Sultan Mai-Buka, with his cavalry and 
infantry. About two hundred court ladies in long rows, 

49. Bornu musicians. 

50. Bornu traders at Fort Lamy. 


advanced with short measured steps to salute him. 
Large veils, reaching to the ground, enveloped their 
figures, and made a wonderfully effective play of 
colours as they swung rythmically in the sunshine. 

" As we stood outside our tents, they came up to pay 
their respects to us. But if we expected to see their 
fair faces, we were disappointed, for as each one ad- 
vanced, she turned her back to us, and bowing to the 
earth swiftly covered her face, then rising, stepped 
aside to make room for the next. After this remark- 
able ceremony, the Sultan himself rode up on a white 
charger, and graciously extended his hand. His horse 
was gorgeously caparisoned with gold, and those of 
his suite were scarcely less magnificent. He wore a 
caftan, probably of European material, a broad white 
girdle, and a white turban. He took up his stand 
on our right, and watched his troops march past. 
(Illus. 54.) 

" The Sultan's life-guard headed the procession. The 
soldiers presented a splendid appearance in their hand- 
some uniforms, but they carried a miscellaneous collec- 
tion of muskets of an obsolete pattern. Many of them 
were warriors from Rabeh's army, and wore the uni- 
forms which this great conqueror had given to his 

" Regiment after regiment filed past. After the life- 
guard came the cavalry in a great cloud of dust. The 
saddles and bridles of many of the horses were as 
gorgeous as those of the Sultan and his suite, the 
gold and silver embroidery, the red, green, and yellow 
satin trappings, the gaudy padded cloths reaching 
down to the horses' fetlocks, the long, many-coloured 
dresses of the riders, their white turbans, spurs, swords, 
and wide stirrups glittered and sparkled in the 


glowing sunlight, making a vivid picture, which we 
shall not readily forget. (Illus. 52.) 

" Now and then some important personage broke 
the ranks, and brandishing his sword, rode up to salute 
the ladies. They responded by bowing to the earth, 
covering their faces with their veils, and breaking into 
a shrill, quavering cry, produced by rapidly clicking 
their tongues backwards and forwards. 

"The women's dancing interested us very much. 
Forming up in a long line, they advanced in circles 
with slow impressive steps, beating time with their 
gaudy scarves. Never in the whole of Africa have 
I seen such a fascinating spectacle, which I could 
have watched for hours." 

The officers at Kusseri, especially the Imperial 
Resident, First Lieutenant von Raben, were exceed- 
ingly kind to us, so that the days spent here helped 
us to recover from the fatigues and hardships of the 
last few months. As we had still a few days to spare 
before setting out on our travels once more, the Duke 
went on a short hunting expedition in the neighbour- 
hood, which he describes in his diary as follows : — 

" As there were still two days before Christmas, I 
decided to go hunting in the country south of Kusseri, 
near the Shari. 

" First Lieutenant von Raben was kind enough to act 
as our guide, and Sergeant-Major Seifert was the third 
member of the party. Early on the 23rd we set out, and 
for four hours travelled up the Shari in a large native 
boat, whose huge prow resembled that of a viking's 
galley. Our progress was at first much hindered by 
a strong head wind, but presently we entered a creek 
where we were completely sheltered, and which teemed 
with life. Flocks of every kind of water-fowl, ducks, 



water-hens, gulls, several varieties of beautiful herons, 
amongst them the white feathered heron, ibises, cor- 
morants, etc., swam and fluttered around. Snake- 
neck birds (darters) in large numbers sunned them- 
selves on the branches of the trees in their character- 
istic attitude, with outstretched wings, and allowed 
us to approach within a few steps. But we did not 
disturb them, having nobler quarry in view. We 
were especially anxious to come across the rhinoceros, 
that representative of a by-gone age who has escaped 
destruction. There are few people who can boast 
of having shot a rhinoceros in the North Cameroons, 
and this fact made me all the keener. 

" An hour later we left the boat and followed a path 
which brought us in about two hours to our destina- 
tion : the little Shoa village of Tukura, surrounded 
by dense bush chiefly composed of gum-arabic acacias 
with golden blossom. It is in the very thickest 
part of the bush, where the hunter can see scarcely 
twenty yards ahead, that the rhinoceros takes 
his mid- day nap, and it is here that he must be 

" The next morning we rose long before dawn, and 
found several rhinoceros' spoors, but none of them 
recent enough to be worth following up. We crawled 
through the bush for several hours, but found 
nothing, and at last gave up in despair and turned 
our faces homewards. 

" Suddenly we heard a loud snorting scarcely thirty 
paces away. Our rifles flew to our shoulders, for 
a rhinoceros was evidently about to charge. The 
bush was so dense that we could see nothing, but the 
next moment we heard the monster crashing through 
the trees in the opposite direction. We followed as 


quickly as possible, but the wind was unfavourable 
and carried our scent to him, so that we were doomed 
to disappointment. 

" Meanwhile it was getting late, and as it was Christ- 
mas Eve, we were obliged to hurry so as to reach 
Kusseri in time for the festivities. At about three 
o'clock we reached the Shari, and canoed rapidly 
down-stream. The shadows of evening lay on the 
water, and the refreshing coolness sent our thoughts 
homewards, where amid ice and snow, and round 
glittering Christmas trees, our friends were doubtless 
thinking of us ; and a Christmas mood came over us 
even here in Africa's ever-green country." 

On the 26th of December our party separated once 
more. The Duke, Professor Haberer, Heims, and 
Schmidt, accompanied by First Lieutenant von Raben 
and Dr Trepper, set out from Kusseri on a four weeks' 
tour in the Logone district. We said good-bye, shak- 
ing hands warmly, for we were not to meet again until 
we reached Europe at the close of the expedition, 
i.e. in about ten months' time. And although I felt 
honoured at being entrusted with the task of pushing 
on eastwards to the Nile, it was hard to part with the 
Duke, whose companion I had always been till now 
in his African travels. 

Roder and I returned to Fort Lamy, and there 
awaited the steamer which was to convey us to Arch- 
ambault. Monsieur Ruet was also of the party, having 
kindly acted as guide to the Duke as far as Lamy, and 
being now on his way back to Bangi, and thence home 
to France. 

At Fort Lamy I had the pleasure of making the 
acquaintance of a merry, fair-haired, little English 
girl, who had come here as the result of a great sorrow, 











although her big blue eyes gazed contentedly on the 
world in general. 

Miss MacLeod had been engaged to the English 
explorer Boyd Alexander, who was murdered early 
in 1910. Accompanied by an English lady and her 
husband, she had come to the Tchad district in order 
to visit the place in Wadai, where her fiance had fallen 
a victim to the savage Massalits. Owing to the politi- 
cal unrest in these parts, she had been forced to stop 
at Lamy, and could go only as far as the English 
station, Maidugeri, in Northern Nigeria, where the 
body of the explorer had been laid to rest beside his 
brother, Captain Alexander. 

Whilst waiting for the steamer, I spent the time 
sight-seeing in Fort Lamy. I was especially interested 
in watching the games of the Bornu riders, who dis- 
played their skill in a large open space in front of the 
town. In threes and fours, they rushed up at full 
gallop, suddenly dragging their horses round when 
only about ten yards away from us. This rough treat- 
ment is most injurious to young horses, many being 
ruined by these cruel displays. In order to preserve 
its balance, the animal is dragged on to its haunches, 
its hind legs sliding several yards in the sand, while 
its head and neck are wrenched violently to one side. 
Their mouths are covered with bloody foam, showing 
the brutal effect of the powerful curb bits. Many 
horses kick furiously, for while the bit is shamefully 
misused, the sharp edges of the wide stirrups are dug 
into their flanks. But the greater the restlessness 
of the horse, the more the rider is applauded, this 
being considered a test of his horsemanship. 

It was obvious that the Bornuese had been brought 
up in the saddle from their childhood, and it can 


readily be imagined what formidable opponents the 
mounted Tchad natives proved for the French. They 
rushed up like the wind, and disappeared with equal 
rapidity, so that the French troops had scarcely time 
to snatch their rifles and open fire. 

There was a very amusing tame giraffe called 
Josephine, that had already spent several years at 
Lamy. (Illus. 56.) Usually she appeared in the 
yard of the Government buildings at nightfall, 
wandering in the daytime within a radius of many 

In order to take some good photographs, we induced 
some of the Bornu riders to chase her round the square 
at full gallop. The giraffe seemed to be moving quite 
slowly, while the horses strained their utmost to keep 
up with her. The Deputy- Governor, Captain Facon, 
made Miss MacLeod a present of Josephine, as she 
had fallen in love with the animal. But I very 
much doubt whether the lady will succeed in getting 
Josephine away from Lamy, let alone convey her to 
the coast. 

The year 1910 had a somewhat unfortunate ending 
for me and my black followers. My Bornu cook made 
a mistake, and used in the cooking in place of salt, 
some chemical resembling it, but which probably 
belonged to the photographic apparatus, or was in- 
tended for preserving skins. The result was that 
we all had symptoms of poisoning, and suffered with 
sickness and attacks of giddiness. My boys in parti- 
cular, who had as usual eaten too much, were 
doubled up with pain, and felt sure that they were 
dying. However, the kind attentions of the French 
doctor stationed at Fort Lamy soon restored us to 


On New Year's Day 1911, Monsieur Ruet, Sergeant- 
Major Roder and I went on board the steamer " Leon 
Blott," and started on the voyage to Archam- 
bault, whence we were to return by land to the 



Adolf Friedrich, Duke of Mecklenburg 



On the 8th of February I left Kusseri, accompanied 
by Haberer, Heims, Roder, and Schmidt, and the little 
steamer " Leon Blott " conveyed us as far as Gulfei, 
where Sultan Diagara had prepared a grand recep- 
tion. His whole army, cavalry and infantry, stood 
lined up on the sandy bank of the river, and the Sultan 
himself came down to the water's edge to welcome 
us. Behind him stood several richly caparisoned 
horses, which were intended for our use. And so 
in solemn state we entered the town of Gulfei, 
followed by a gay, noisy crowd, and escorted by the 
Sultan to the door of the little house set apart for 
European visitors. 

The Sultan's palace is unusually large, and forms 
a perfect labyrinth of stairs, halls, and passages 
leading from one part of the building to the other. 
The harem stands opposite, and as women are here 
not strictly secluded, we were allowed to inspect their 

Opinions differ as to whether the women are 
at all attractive. They certainly possess some 
good points, but their pierced noses, and teeth 
dyed red from betel-chewing, spoil the general 
effect. I was surprised to see in the palace two 
cupboards decorated with brass, which must have 
been brought over from Bagirmi by Rabeh. The 



Sultan was, however, ill, and the following day he 
was prostrate. 

In the hopes of collecting a few zoological speci- 
mens I set out early, and returned three hours later 
having shot five gazelles. My guide offered to 
fetch some women to carry the game home, and 
presently returned with his old mother, intending to 
make her carry everything. But the old woman 
utterly refused, and took herself off ; so to our 
delight the lazy wretch was obliged to carry his 

The same day at noon I set out for Lake Tchad, 
accompanied by Haberer and Schmidt. Heims and 
Roder were left behind in order that they might travel 
to Dikoa via Wulgo and Ngala, and meet me at Garua 
in June. In this way the expedition would touch 
the little -known northern frontier of the German 
Tchad district, and our party was divided into four 
parts, each with leisure to fulfil its own appointed 

The Sultan presented me with two live hyena-dogs, 
which would be a valuable acquisition for a zoological 
garden. (Illus. 57.) 

My interest was now centred in Lake Tchad, about 
which I had heard so much, but concerning which 
but little reliable information was forthcoming. I was 
particularly anxious to make the acquaintance of the 
island natives, whose fierce disposition had been 
described to me. 

Our little vessel steamed noisily to the mouth of 
the Shari, whilst a fresh north-easterly breeze cooled 
the atmosphere. Hundreds of lazy crocodiles sunned 
themselves on the sandbanks, in friendly proximity 
to numerous sandpipers, geese, ducks, and water- 

55. Pile defences of the station at Kusseri against the floods 
of the Logone. 

56. Giraffe "Josephine 


fowl of various kinds, which flew up into the air as the 
steamer approached. 

At sunset we reached Hoboro, on the German side 
of the river. The people at once recognised us, having 
accompanied the Sultan Diagara to Kusseri for the 
games and festivities. They arranged a place for our 
tents, and brought us large quantities of provisions- 
much more than we could possibly eat. It was a cold 
night, the thermometer registering only 50° F. and 
even by noon the next day it had scarcely risen any 
higher, so that we had to wear thick overcoats in order 
to keep warm. 

On the morning of the 10th of February we con- 
tinued our journey, and by 9.30 a.m. we had reached 
the Djimtilo arm of the river. But our attempt to 
navigate it was unsuccessful, as our steamer went 
full speed on to a sandbank, and all efforts to get over 
it were fruitless. So we gave it up, and endeavoured 
to back her into deep water. This was at length 
accomplished by the black crew pushing from the shore, 
whilst the engines worked full speed astern. We then 
proceeded down the main channel of the river, which 
gradually narrowed as we approached the lake. 
Stretching away from both banks we saw wide tree- 
less plains, on which were grazing grass-antelopes and 

We passed a small island, chiefly composed of reeds 
and grass, and then suddenly the lake lay before us, 
stretching northwards as far as the eye could see. 
A strong wind was blowing, and the waves tossed 
our little vessel so violently that our captain 
decided to anchor and wait till the weather im- 
proved. He discovered, moreover, that we had 
not sufficient fuel to carry us across the lake, so 


we returned to the river mouth, and pitched our 

Haberer and I then set off for Djimtilo in search 
of a native who could guide us on an excursion we had 
planned for the next day, and also an interpreter of 
the Buduma language, in case we met any of the 
islanders. A young Shoa chief willingly supplied both, 
and these men rowed us back to the steamer, up the 
narrow waterway, and over the sand bar on which 
we had come to grief earlier in the day. 

The Lake Tchad boats are made of bamboo, and 
are quite different to the river boats. The bow rises 
in the form of a high beak, curved backwards at the 
tip. The hull is oval and floats deep in the water, so 
that the deck is scarcely two handsbreadth above the 
water level. Yet its capacity and stability are wonder- 
ful, and far surpass those of a river wood-boat of the 
same size. 

I saw many grass-antelopes and water-bucks, and 
secured several specimens of unknown varieties, no 
German having so far hunted in this district. By 
the time I regained my hut, the moon had risen, and 
the air was cold, although a little warmer than on the 
previous night. 

The wind increased in violence, making the lake 
so rough that we were obliged to wait until the follow- 
ing afternoon before we could continue our voyage. 
Then it gradually subsided, and we became wrapped 
in fog, so that we could see nothing but water in every 
direction. We passed several islands, all of them sub- 
merged and showing only the summits of the trees, and 
the tops of the surrounding papyrus. The lake was in 
flood, though the level of its chief tributary the Shari, 
had been steadily falling ever since October. It is 


not until April that the lake is at its lowest ebb. The 
water is then very salt, the sodium chloride of the 
lake-bed being mixed with saltpetre. This salt is 
highly valued by the natives, and forms an important 
article of commerce. It is broken off in large pieces 
from the bed of the lake, dried, and sent in all directions. 
Up here two blocks measuring about 20 by 1| inches 
may be bought for a Maria-Theresa thaler, whilst in 
Fort Lamy it costs about two francs a pound. 

Soon we had left behind us all the submerged islands ; 
they sank below the horizon, and for the space of an 
hour we could see nothing but water all around. 

In the evening we came to another submerged island, 
and although there was a full moon, making the night 
almost as bright as day, the black captain deemed 
it safer not to proceed for fear of running aground on 
a sand-bank. So we anchored under the lee of the 
island, and pitched our tents as best we could on the 
after-deck of the " Leon Blott." Fortunately our 
fear of mosquitoes was not realised, possibly owing 
to the moonlight, for I have frequently noticed that 
these tormenting insects disappear as soon as the moon 
rises on a clear night. 

The following morning at six o'clock we set off 
again, finding it bitterly cold with a temperature of 
58° F. At last an unsubmerged island came into view, 
but it turned out to be uninhabited, its surface being 
composed chiefly of sand-hills, with a few tamarind 
trees and acacia-like shrubs. We did not land, but 
continued our search for an inhabited island. 

At last at about nine o'clock we sighted a large island, 
and as we could distinguish human beings, we at once 
landed. The guide who had accompanied us from 
Djimtilo knew the place well, and could speak Buduma, 


which is the language spoken by the natives of the same 
name. He led us inland towards a village, over hills 
covered with quick-sands, on which grew shrubs resem- 
bling broom (Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Dene.), as well 
as fibrous plants with large leaves (Calotropis procera) 
in great profusion. (Illus. 58.) These may be con- 
sidered typical specimens of the vegetation through- 
out the Tchad district. The last-named is found on 
the plains of North Africa and India. The stalk 
yields an excellent fibre, which is cleverly woven by 
the islanders into mats, baskets, ropes, nets, etc. 

It was only by slow degrees that we succeeded in 
persuading the islanders to make friends, as they all 
fled in terror at our approach, with the exception of 
a few women. Their fear had its origin in the military 
enterprises of the French, who a year ago sent troops 
to quell the perpetual disturbances among the islanders. 

We found the population peaceably disposed, and 
when at last the village chief, with his somewhat idiotic 
brother, made his appearance, he agreed to all our 
requests, and even showed us a favourable anchorage 
for the steamer. Provisions were at first not forth- 
coming, but the sight of a Maria-Theresa thaler had a 
magical effect in producing eggs and milk. 

The island was called Ifa, and according to the 
natives, had never before been visited by a European. 
(Illus. 60.) Its shape is long and narrow, and it lies 
south of the large group of islands which occupy the 
whole north-easterly corner of the lake. The in- 
habitants are Mohammedans, and are called Budumas 
and Kuris. (Illus. 62-65.) They always wear the 
wide Bornu chabak, here called a bol ; they live 
in peculiar round huts (illus. 61) the interior of 
which is elaborately arranged, being divided up into 

58. Fibrous plant. (Calotropis procera.) 

59. Island of Bugomi. 


several rooms, separated by partitions of plaited 
straw. All the islanders recognise the authority of 
one chief called Bugomi, who lives on the island of the 
same name. (Illus. 59.) 

The Budumas are first-rate cattle breeders. The cattle 
are all of a special breed, without a hump ; they are very 
strong and almost entirely white. (Illus. 66.) Enormous 
horns adorn their heads. The goats, too, are almost 
entirely white. There are no sheep to be seen, but 
there are a few horses, descended from those originally 
brought over from Bornu, with which place a brisk 
trade is carried on. The transport of the cattle is an 
extraordinary sight, the animals being conveyed to 
Kekua in huge canoes made of plaited papyrus. This 
takes place chiefly in July, the water being then at its 
lowest, and sufficiently shallow to enable the natives 
to wade from one island to the other. This is a 
season of plenty for the cattle, who are left free to 
roam at will among the pastures. The fringe of 
papyrus reeds growing along the southern shore of Lake 
Tchad seems to be gradually spreading north, so that 
in a few centuries it will cover the whole of the lake. 
(Illus. 67.) Salt is obtained on the island, and a herb 
called kubai is dried and burned ; the ash which 
results is dissolved and evaporated in the sun until 
a crust of salt is deposited. 

The islanders became more and more friendly, and 
sold us all the provisions we needed. Even hens' 
eggs, the existence of which they had at first strenuously 
denied, were brought to us in a large basket as a pre- 
sent. I sent gifts in return to the chief, Bugomi, and 
announced that I intended to pay him a visit the 
following day, lest he should run away again. 

It took us three hours and a half to reach his island, 


and we basked contentedly on deck, enjoying the 
beautiful scenery. Bugomi and his suite stood on 
the shore, awaiting our visit ; he gazed at us with 
evident interest, and without shyness. He then con- 
ducted us to the village, where he presented me with 
a long-horned, white bullock. 

It was not until the 17th of February that we made 
up our minds to take leave of Lake Tchad. We shall 
always have very pleasant memories of our visit, which 
we thoroughly enjoyed, and which far surpassed our 
expectations. The islanders had been described to 
us as dangerous savages, but this was by no means 
our experience. All the accounts we had received 
proved most unreliable, and the lake as a whole is still 
wrapped in mystery, many of the islands having never 
been visited by a European. All the maps available 
are very unsatisfactory, and make no attempt to give 
accurate geographical details. 

We proceeded to Bol, which was formerly a French 
station (illus. 68, 69), but finding it quite deserted, we 
landed on the island of Daldal, which is separated from 
Bol by a water channel about 200 yards wide. We found 
some rare zoological specimens in Daldal, and rewarded 
the natives who brought them with mirrors and knives. 

We passed many small islands, and at sunset we 
anchored at Melea, where we pitched our tents. After 
nightfall we noticed a curious phenomenon : the whole 
shore of the island was apparently covered with sparks. 
These were in reality glow-worms crawling in thousands 
on the ground. 

During the whole of our stay in the islands the 
weather was fine and warm, but the night before we 
left a violent wind arose and threatened to overturn 
our tents. We set off at 10.30 the following morning, 


though the weather looked very threatening, and there 
were white horses on the lake. At about two o'clock we 
landed at an uninhabited island in order to procure 
wood for fuel, and as a thick fog came on, we were 
obliged to encamp and wait for an improvement in 
the weather. The thermometer registered 67° F. in 
the morning, and 81° F. in the evening. The next 
day a strong wind was blowing, which did not affect 
us as long as we were under the lee of the islands, but 
as soon as we reached the open water, the waves be- 
came so violent that the captain decided to anchor 
once more. The moon rose late, and we spent the 
night on board. During the evening we made a 
successful trip in a collapsible boat, and secured 
some new species of birds. The next morning we 
continued our journey, and although our little vessel 
pitched and rolled in the heavy seas, by 10 o'clock we 
had once more safely reached the mouth of the Shari. 

We landed for fuel, and at Shoe, a village lying 
on the river opposite Mani, to our mutual astonish- 
ment we met Heims and Roder. 

The Shari forms a definite boundary sharply divid- 
ing the animal world. On the east bank for instance, 
rhinoceroses, buffaloes, and especially giraffes are 
plentiful, whereas they are never found west of the 
river. German museums contain no specimens of animals 
from this district, so that one of the principal objects of 
our expedition was to make a zoological collection. The 
Arab village, Abilela, seemed the most suitable place 
for this work, animals of all kinds being plentiful in 
the neighbourhood. After shooting a pallah and an 
equine antelope, I suddenly saw three giraffes pushing 
their way through the bush. I crept after them as 
quickly as possible, but at the first shot, the huge 


creatures lowered their necks, and made off at full 
speed in a cloud of dust. About 100 yards further, 
I discovered my giraffe at the point of death. It was 
a sturdy old female, with dark, reticulate markings 
reminding me of the Bahr-el-Ghazal giraffes. 

I sent a Shoa back to Abilela ; in two hours' time 
twenty men were on the spot, and in another hour and 
a half they had removed the skin. Haberer had mean- 
while shot a hog, and shortly afterwards Schmidt sent 
word that he had shot two giraffes. So I sent him 
natives with knives and lanterns, and at half -past one 
in the morning he reached the village with his skins. 

The next day Haberer and I fished in the Shari, and 
succeeded in catching some rare specimens. Mean- 
while forty of the sultan's men prepared the giraffe 
skins. They were nearly an inch thick, and all the fat 
has to be carefully removed in order to prepare them. 
This takes several hours, and then follows the equally 
important salting process, for which we used Lake 
Tchad salt, which removes the moisture from the 
skins. They are then folded, and hung on the branch 
of a tree all night ; the next morning they are 
taken down, shaken free of water, and scraped clear 
of salt. Then the salting process is carried out all 
over again, and the skin is turned inside out and hung 
up to dry in an airy place sheltered from the sun. 

The following day I shot a wild boar, a Ducker, 
and a fine equine antelope. (Illus. 70, 72.) 

We enjoyed hunting with the Arabs. They possess 
all the characteristics of a superior race, although they 
have little in common with their brethren in Syria 
and Egypt, their skins being black, and their clothing 
scanty. Their features are finely cut, and their bright 
eyes denote intelligence, many of the guides being so 

62 and 63. Buduma man. 

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^^ • 

■^ i : 

4l ■; .^T 

1 i 

MV I , 

w ■■ 

s 1 

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64 and 65. Buduma woman. 


observant that nothing in the bush escapes their notice. 
One boy of ten was specially remarkable in this re- 
spect, for he detected the faintest spoor, and had eyes 
everywhere. The women's faces, too, are striking, and 
denote breeding. Their long plaits of hair, hanging 
over their shoulders on each side, add to the strange- 
ness of their appearance. Married women knot one 
plait at the neck (illus. 71), whereas young girls 
make it stand up vertically in a point, this being a 
sign of dependence which disappears on their marriage. 

In Bagirmi the Arabs are called Shoas, a name which 
is also used in the North Cameroons. Their language 
serves as a universal means of intercourse, but differs 
considerably from the Arabic of Northern Africa. 

At Abilela, as in many other Arab villages, we saw 
ostriches running about like domestic animals, being 
kept for the sake of their feathers. The great stupid 
birds used to walk calmly into our tents, and pick up 
bits on the ground at meal-times. Some of the older 
cocks had beautiful feathers, but most of them had 
been plucked, and ran about with bare, glistening, 
pink skins. Wild ostriches are occasionally found 
up-country, and all the tame ones are hatched from 
eggs accidentally discovered. 

On the 27th of February we set out on our journey 
south, with twenty-nine pack-oxen which we obtained 
at Hadjer el Hamis, each of which carried a double 
load. I sent our trophies and the rest of our baggage 
by steamer to Kusseri. 

The daily loading of the animals was indeed a sore 
trial of our patience. Each ox carries his driver and 
a load suspended on each side, which must be very 
carefully balanced to prevent the heavier load from 
dragging down the lighter. This was an almost daily 


occurrence, so that we became quite accustomed to 
hear the crash of falling packing-cases, although this 
did not exactly improve their contents. The pre- 
parations for starting always occupied at least an 
hour and a half, whereas well- drilled carriers get ready 
to march in less than half an hour. The animals soon 
tired and fell on the bad roads, which resembled 
nothing so much as a frozen and newly ploughed field. 
The overhanging branches, too, pulled down the loads, 
and thus necessitated halts of varying duration which 
were very tiresome. However, French " humanity " 
forbids the employment of native carriers in all dis- 
tricts where they can be replaced by animals. Per- 
haps the happy day will yet dawn in Europe when all 
manual labour will be forbidden for humanitarian 
reasons ! 

We marched in three hours from Abilela to Dugia, 
a Kotoko village whose inhabitants, like all the 
Kotokos on the right bank of the Shari, have migrated 
from the German side in order to escape the cruelty 
of Sultan Djagara of Gulfei, who thought nothing 
of cutting off his subjects' heads or arms. We saw a 
man at Mani, whose hand had been amputated at the 
wrist for theft ; this mutilation did not, however, pre- 
vent him from being an active member of the court 

We spent three days in Dugia, studying the habits 
of the people and wandering about the neighbourhood. 
One day I saw a whole herd of " wart hogs " grovel- 
ling on their knees in a meadow. Their heads were 
invisible in the grass, and their prominent hind- 
quarters were a very funny sight. 

One night the Kotokos taught us a new method 
of fishing ; canoes were paddled into mid-stream, 


and the nets lowered. A great noise was then made 
by beating the sides of the boats with sticks, so as to 
drive the fish into the meshes of the nets, but the result 
was very poor. The noise seemed to upset an old 
hyena, for she howled all the time quite close to us, in 
spite of all the lanterns and commotion. 

During the next few days' march, the country was 
still covered with thorn bushes. Here and there the 
monotony was interrupted by patches of grass, or by 
depressions in the ground containing evil-smelling 
water, which was, however, eagerly drunk by man and 
beast alike, since there was nothing better to be found. 
The banks of the Shari are densely populated in this 
district since their occupation by the French, which 
put an end to Rabeh's despotism. Near Bugia I came 
across a very pretty park, with green lawns, shut in 
by woods. 

We continued our southward march, and encamped 
at the Arab settlement of Abugoie, which consists of 
two villages about 200 yards apart, inhabited alternately 
during the dry and rainy seasons. 

The banks of the Shari are not free from tsetse flies, 
though they are less numerous here than higher up the 
river. They are, however, sufficiently numerous to be 
very injurious to cattle. By the time Bagirmi is 
reached this trouble ceases, so that oxen are easier 
to obtain, and their carrying power is greater. The 
population is fairly healthy ; eye diseases often occur, 
leprosy very seldom. 

The weather was now favourable, and the nights 
and early mornings were refreshingly cool. During 
the day the thermometer rose considerably. In May 
and June a temperature of 122° F. is not unheard-of, 
and we soon became accustomed to look upon a tern- 


perature of 95° F. as comfortably cool. The wild birds 
apparently did not appreciate the heat, for one day 
at dawn Haberer noticed a row of guinea-fowl cooling 
themselves in a pool with the water up to their chests. 
As soon as the sun rose they disappeared. 

We had a curious experience of fishing with dynamite ; 
all the shad fish were killed by the explosion and sank 
to the bottom, whilst the rest of the fish swam about as 

On the 4th of March we reached French Gulfei, 
opposite the German station of the same name. It 
was not long before Djagara paid me a visit. It was 
his first entrance into French territory since its 
annexation by Europeans ; perhaps the crafty old 
scoundrel hoped by his pompous bearing to win back 
some of his deserting Kotokos. 

French Gulfei is a small uninteresting village, not 
to be compared with the station on the German side. 

On the 6th of March our caravan was once more 
in Fort Lamy, and the same day we set out for 
Kusseri, where I received satisfactory news of the 
South Cameroons party, and also of von Wiese's 
journey to the Ubangi. 

71. Shoa women. 

72. Antelope. (Hippotragus equinus.) 

73. Migratory locusts. 

74. Herds of cattle in Bagirmi. 



The days preceding our departure for Bagirmi were 
spent in packing and despatching a large number of 
scientific specimens. We worked with frantic haste, 
as we were anxious to start as soon as possible. But 
our patience was sorely tried, as the cases were small 
and were soon used up. For the remainder we used 
straw mats, but even these were not forthcoming in 
sufficient numbers, and had first to be made by the 

Meanwhile news came from Wadai that Comman- 
dant Maillard had won three victories, and we also 
learned that Colonel Largeau had been appointed as 
successor to Colonel Moll, and had arrived in the Upper 
Shari district. Later on I had the pleasure of making 
his acquaintance. His appointment will certainly 
conduce to the prosperity of the French Colonies, for 
he is no stranger, having formerly visited this country, 
and he bears an excellent reputation. 

The waters of the Shari and the Logone were now 
at their lowest level, and the little steamer " Jacques 
d'Uzes " lay high and dry on the sand at Fort Lamy, 
in front of the factory belonging to the " Compagnie 
de TOuhame et de la Nana." Unfortunately the 
shallow water gave rise to all kinds of diseases ; the 
dirty, turbid drinking water produced gastric troubles, 
and Fort Lamy was almost converted into a hospital. 



The wind had changed from north-west to due north, 
and the heat was becoming unbearable. The morn- 
ings were misty and damp, and the sun tried in vain 
to pierce the fog. The thermometer registered 104° F. 
in the shade, and whereas a month ago we had re- 
quired a thick overcoat as soon as the sun had set, 
we now sat panting in our shirt- sleeves. 

On the 12th of March, in the evening, we noticed 
an immense cloud of grasshoppers, resembling flakes 
of snow in the moonlight. They were travelling from 
east to west, and it took nearly an hour for them to 
pass out of our sight. Many of them flew so low that 
we could catch them as they passed ; they flopped in 
our faces, and fell on to the roof, and into the verandah. 
They seemed to us larger than the East African variety. 
Several times later on we noticed similar swarms. 
They apparently rested on the surface of the water 
in the day-time, and took advantage of the cool night 
for travelling. Wherever they halted, the trees were 
covered with them, thousands hanging from every 
branch, and when they settled on the fields near a 
village, the harvest was entirely destroyed. 

We had been three months in the Tchad district | 
when we took leave of our kind host, First Lieutenant 
von Raben, and set out towards Bagirmi. Besides 
the soldiers and Europeans, a great crowd of natives 
with their Sultan, the little Mai-Buka, had assembled 
at Kusseri to watch our start in large, wooden canoes. 
We landed at Fort Lamy, and dined with Colonel 
Largeau. Our caravan of boeufs forteurs had been 
sent on ahead, and in two hours' time we caught 
them up as they were resting in anticipation of a night 
march. When the moon rose and the drivers prepared , 
to start, it was noticed that three of the oxen had 


taken it into their heads to return to Fort Lamy. 
Another lay on its side, and utterly declined to move ; 
even the Arab plan of pinching and biting its tail 
failed to make it get up. I left the care of the beasts 
to Schmidt and the French Sergeant-Major Houppe, 
and at half past seven in the evening set out with 

The clear moonlight enabled us to march always 
by night, thus avoiding the increasing heat of the 

Presently we met the huge baggage train belonging 
to Sultan Garuang of Bagirmi, who had left his palace 
at Tchekna, and was on his way to visit Colonel Lar- 
geau. This was a disappointment to us as we could 
no longer hope to become better acquainted with the 
sultan, and Tchekna was thus deprived of its greatest 
attraction. His people passed us in larger or smaller 
bands, and two hours and a half elapsed before we 
had left them behind. Men riding gaily caparisoned 
horses, with weapons and bridles glittering in the 
moonlight, armed infantry, natives carrying pro- 
visions and water, women mounted on slow-pacing 
oxen, baggage mules, and led-horses, all marched 
along in an irregular procession. The dust rose in 
clouds so that we often collided with some careless 
fellow, who on recognising a white man, promptly 
drew his beast out of the way. 

The sultan himself travelled during the day in short 
stages. At daybreak we passed his scattered camp, 
just as the muezzin was calling in loud, clear tones to 
all the faithful : Allahu akbar. As the great ruler 
was in the act of dressing Professor Haberer acciden- 
tally met him at the entrance of his tent, and was in- 
vited inside. About four or five hundred horsemen 


belonging to his bodyguard were busy saddling and 
bridling their horses beside the glowing camp fires. 

Garuang's camp was pitched at the end of a long 
stretch of desert country forty miles long, which had 
taken him three days to traverse, and which now lay 
in our path. The vast amount of water that must 
have been required in order to supply this great as- 
semblage can readily be imagined, and we saw two 
men who had fallen exhausted by the way. 

After a brief midnight halt in an Arab village we 
pressed on, and reached our next camping ground at 
% a.m. This was the bed of the river Ba Linea, which 
here still contained a little water, though everywhere 
else it was quite dry. We found two half-ruined 
straw huts in which to rest our weary limbs, and we 
were soon fast asleep, with our heads on our saddles, 
regardless of mosquitoes. It was not until half-past 
six that our baggage animals began to arrive, Schmidt 
and Houppe bringing up the rear some hours later. 
One of the animals had suddenly started kicking, had 
thrown down his load, and had made off at full speed 
in the direction of Fort Lamy ; it was only after a 
long and fatiguing pursuit that the deserter was re- 
captured. Others had lain or fallen down, breaking 
packing-cases which contained valuable specimens. 

The next day was still more unfortunate both for 
man and beast. We had now entered upon a long, 
barren plain, and after twelve hours' uninterrupted 
march, the weary and parched caravan was allowed 
three hours' rest in a shady spot. But there was no 
water, so the sleeping beasts were relentlessly roused 
and loaded, so that we might press on further. The 
thermometer registered 113° F., and the sun blazed 
down in scorching heat, whilst the ground became 


increasingly sandy, so that the poor creatures became 
more and more exhausted. Several of the men, too, 
had come to an end of their strength, and refused to 
proceed to what they regarded as certain death. With 
true negro laziness, though fully alive to the danger, 
they were too stupid to practise economy with the 
water supply. And the less they accomodate them- 
selves to the hardships of such a journey, the more 
cruel they are to their beasts. The knotted cords 
that fasten the loads, often rest on the bare backs of 
the animals, cutting deep into the flesh. The wounds 
suppurate till the bones are almost bare, and the poor 
i creatures sink to the ground with pain as soon as they 
[ feel the weight of the load. But no native would 
1 1 ever think of troubling to adjust the straw saddles, 
and thus relieve their sufferings, and give the wounds 
t a chance to heal. 

1 1 At last after a twenty -one hours' march, with the 
thermometer at 102° F., we reached our destination 
I at nine o'clock at night in pitch darkness. At length 
] the poor thirsty creatures could refresh themselves 
, with evil-smelling water of a doubtful colour. Man 
and beast alike swallowed it eagerly. 

Maiaish was the name of our camping place (vide col. 
illus.) and it was inhabited by Arabs of the Eskie tribe, 
who are entrusted by the Government with letter- 
carrying and general transport along the Tchekna 
road. This road is still in course of construction, and 
when finished, will furnish the quickest means of com- 
munication between Lamy and Tchekna. It is to be 
sixty feet wide, and will also be used for the telegraph 
service which will be installed in 1912. The country 
bordering the Tchekna road is not at all attractive, 
and consists for the most part of sandy wastes with a 


few stunted trees. The water supply is very meagre, 
and everywhere the cattle may be seen crowding 
eagerly round the flat, clay vessels which contain the 
scanty, brown drinking water brought from the village 

As we advanced towards the East, the character of 
the landscape gradually changed, the bush becoming 
thinner and thinner, until at last it ceased altogether. 
The mosquitoes disappear during the dry season, and 
as we neared Tchekna, the ever -increasing herds of 
cattle testified to the absence of the dreaded tsetse 
flies. At Ngama, two days' march from Tchekna, 
we came upon some Arabs travelling with their camels, 
this being about their most southerly limit. I tried 
to charter their animals for the rest of our journey 
to Tchekna, as they are quicker, and carry ten times 
as much as the oxen. But although they agreed, both 
Arabs and camels suddenly vanished. In the little 
village of Derredja, we met Bagirmi natives for the 
first time, inplace of the usual Arab population. 
Here, too, we found some deep wells containing clear 

At midnight, after a short three hours' rest, we set 
off by moonlight on the last stage of the journey to 
Tchekna, and the twenty-five miles were accomplished 
without a halt. Haberer was tired out and remained 
behind, so that I reached Tchekna alone at 9 a.m. 
and was welcomed by Adjutant Roeuge, who rode 
out to meet me. 

In these latitudes the almost entire absence of mois- 
ture is very pleasant, the humidity of the air being 
extremely low during the dry season. Whilst we were 
in the Tchad district the hygrometer registered S3 
per cent., whereas here it indicated only 18 to 20 per 


n * 

S E 



cent., and later on it even fell to 15 per cent. This 
dryness of the atmosphere has many advantages : it 
prevents, for example, any formation of rust, so that 
instruments and rifles require no oiling, a rub with 
a duster sufficing to keep them in good condition. 
Blotting-paper, too, is a luxury, for the ink dries as fast 
as it is used. The heat is very exhausting, and there 
is little relief even at night, for the radiation from the 
walls of the mud and straw huts in which Europeans 
live, is so great that it is impossible to sleep indoors. 
We were obliged to set up our beds in the open air, 
and we became so accustomed to sleeping out of doors, 
that when the rainy season began again in May, we 
were quite reluctant to seek shelter in our tents. 

The water supply of Tchekna is excellent. The 
drinking water is obtained from the Ba Mbassa, a 
tributary of the Shari ; during the rainy season it is 
a wide lake, but just now it was only a small stream, 
half choked with grass and weeds. 

The population of Tchekna is about 10,000, and 
includes representatives of all the surrounding tribes. 
The "town" proper, like all Bagirmi settlements, is 
composed of round thatched huts with walls of plaited 
matting. (Illus. 79, 80.) Even the sultan's palace is 
no exception, and consists of a group of huts surrounded 
by a mud wall several yards high. (Illus. 81.) His 
children have a house to themselves, opposite that of 
their father, and separated from it by the market 
place. In the latter trade is actively carried on every 
afternoon, and we saw less European rubbish than 
in the Fort Lamy market. 

The Sultan Garuang draws a yearly revenue of 
100,000 francs, out of which his tribute to France 
is only 6500 francs. His fortunes were adversely 


affected by Rabeh's expeditions. He was in hiding 
for several years after suffering disastrous defeats, 
and his kingdom, together with his ancient residence 
Massenja, were on the verge of ruin, when at last the 
decisive battle at Kusseri, in which Rabeh was killed, 
brought the sultan's misfortunes to an end. 

From this time onwards Tchekna became the new 
royal residence, but the old name Massenja is still re- 
membered, and will perhaps some day be reinstated 
by the French Government. 

We passed by moonlight through old Massenja, 
now merely a cluster of unimportant villages ; but 
the wall surrounding it, though in ruins, shows that 
it must have covered at one time a considerable area. 

Our time at Tchekna passed only too quickly in 
making additions to our various collections. Haberer 
obtained a number of zoological specimens, whilst I 
turned my attention to the solution of various prob- 
lems relating to Islam, which had been propounded 
to me by Professor Becker, of the Colonial Institute 
at Hamburg. With this object in view, I received 
daily visits from a learned Marabut, a priest on whom 
the dignity of kadi had been conferred. Conversa- 
tion was often very difficult, as the interpreter could 
not understand my questions, and I frequently had; 
to express them in twenty different ways before I could 1 
obtain a satisfactory reply. When at last I had made 
my meaning clear, the priest often gave vent to cries' 
of astonishment evoked by the profound learning of 
the white man. Unfortunately my erudition was 
only apparent, being derived, as explained above, from 
a scholar. On the whole I discovered nothing very 
new in Bagirmi, which from the ethnographical point 
of view was a repetition of the Tchad district. Dwell- 


ings, dress, weapons, and the art of fishing were similar, 
and there is not one characteristic industry peculiar 
to Bagirmi. 

We caught some specimens of lung-fish, which were 
of considerable zoological interest. They are found 
in shallow, turbid pools, and as the water subsides the 
fish cover themselves completely with clay, and await 
in a torpid state the return of the wet season. We 
were in hopes of being able to keep these extraordinary 
creatures in their clay coffins, so as to bring them home 
alive. But unfortunately the coverings were broken, 
and we were obliged to place the fish in alcohol or 
formol. They do not appear to be rare, for they are 
sold smoked in the native markets, but owing to the 
incredible indolence of the Bagirmi people, Europeans 
seldom come across them. 

Our hopes that Sultan Garuang would speedily 
return to Tchekna were doomed to disappointment, 
and at length we were obliged to prepare for departure 
without making the acquaintance of the mighty ruler 
of Bagirmi. 

We left Tchekna on the 29th of March. The day 
was cool and cloudy, a thunderstorm, though almost 
unheard-of during the dry season, having cleared 
the atmosphere the previous night. Our hygrometer, 
the reliability of which we were beginning to doubt, 
registered the sudden saturation of the air by rising 
rapidly from 20 to 60 per cent. But the great heat 
returned the next day, and the thermometer rose to 
120° in the shade. This was very oppressive for both 
man and beast, and we shortened the day's march as 
much as our water supply would permit. 

We made a wide detour to the South, in order to 
visit Kolle and Melfi. We passed several oases : large 


patches of fresh, green grass, with a plentiful supply 
of water, where Arabs of the Moheita and Dahahere 
tribes are encamped to let their cattle graze. They 
remain here until the beginning of the rainy season, 
when they return home to the country round Melfi, 
or else south of the Ba Mbassa, where food and water 
are then plentiful. The Arabs carry on a brisk trade 
with the natives of Bagirmi, who since they possess no 
cattle, obtain from the Arabs their entire supply of milk 
and bread. The satisfaction of drinking fresh milk can 
therefore be indulged in only near the Arab camps. 
These oases are the resorts of wild beasts, and from a 
safe hiding-place I succeeded in photographing a herd 
of antelopes as they approached in search of water, 
whilst an immense flock of marabouts (I counted no 
less than 500), crowned cranes, ducks, and geese sat 
lazily beside the water, scarcely taking the trouble to 
move out of the way of the stamping herd. Thirst 
drew all these creatures to the edge of the forest, even 
while our men bathed or drew water, and our asses and 
oxen drank. They hardly waited for the last man to 
reach the camp, before they were crowding to the water, 
regardless of our cattle. On one occasion I counted 
seventeen antelopes followed by nine hartebests ad- 
vancing from one direction, whilst from the other came 
five hartebests and ten gazelles. They quenched 
their thirst scarcely 120 paces from my hiding-place, 
and they played and quarrelled amongst themselves, 
the hartebests falling on their knees as they fought. 

Wild animals certainly suffer from the drought, but 
plant life seems to flourish, and I noticed buds and 
young shoots in spite of the great heat and the absence 
of moisture. 

The rhinoceros is not easy to find here, but there 

ii*fk +4 

75. Baggage oxen at Fort Lamy. 

76. Wooded plain in Bagirmi. 


were plenty of buffaloes that could be heard at night 
lowing and splashing in the water. Buffalo hunting 
in Africa is looked upon as exceedingly dangerous. 
One morning at dawn I set out, accompanied by my 
Arab guide and one soldier, and after some search, suc- 
ceeded in tracking a herd of buffaloes. Suddenly I 
caught sight of them, scarcely 150 yards away, but 
shooting was inpossible as the foliage rendered the 
animals' outlines too indistinct. Followed by old 
Noah, a black soldier, I advanced, now slowly, now 
rapidly, crawling or running, and always keeping the 
herd in view. We went on thus for about half an hour, 
until we reached a clearance. We could hear the 
buffaloes trampling on all sides of us, so I took my 
stand behind a tree and fired just as a black body 
emerged through the dry yellow grass. The result 
was startling. Everything all around seemed suddenly 
to spring into life, and on all sides there was a tre- 
mendous trampling and stamping, but the wounded 
animal had disappeared. About fifteen buffaloes 
charged down in our direction, and stampeded past 
my tree at a distance of only about forty paces. 
Suddenly I saw a splendid animal standing in a good 
light, as if rooted to the ground. I could clearly dis- 
tinguish his outline, and at 180 paces the huge beast 
crashed to the ground with a bullet in his neck. 

The rest of the herd grew angry, and rushed about 
with their heads in the air, seeking their enemy. But 
fortunately the wind was favourable to me, and I stood 
motionless, with Noah cowering beside me. Through 
my glasses I sighted another fine specimen, this time 
a cow, and I brought her down at the first shot. 
Then a powerful bull rose from the ground, the only 
one that I saw lying down ; he received my second 


bullet, staggered forward, swayed, and then collapsed 
dying. Twice more I was successful, and then the 
herd drew slowly away. Out in the open I perceived 
my Arab guide, who had crept up unnoticed, and we 
advanced together in order to ascertain the result of 
my shots, as the long grass effectually concealed the 
fallen animals. Looking for wounded buffaloes is 
no child's play, and accidents have often resulted at 
this stage from the hunter's carelessness. We ad- 
vanced cautiously, in case any of the animals were 
not dead. On reaching the edge of the clearance, I 
found a large black cow stretched on the ground 
(illus. 85) ; a little to the right was my bull, and a 
few paces further three buffaloes were lying dead. 

The horns of these animals resembled those we 
found in 1908 near Lake Albert Edward, and in the 
Rutshuru plains, for the fauna of the Soudan and of 
the Tchad district is in general very similar to that 
of East Africa. 

On the 5th of April we reached Kolle, on the 
wide Ba Tha river, now quite dry and presenting 
merely a bed of sand. The inhabitants got their 
water from holes about thirty feet deep in the river 
bed, but it was not good, and in spite of having 
passed through a natural sand filter, it had a very 
unpleasant taste. 

Bugta is a fifty-year-old Bornu settlement, and at the 
present time is inhabited almost exclusively by traders. 
At our request the women and children executed a 
graceful dance, for which they donned a special dress. 
They waved their arms, and at the same time made 
rapid movements with their feet, the combined effect 
being quite charming. 

After spending some time near the watering places 


(illus. 88), where big game was plentiful, we at last 
approached Melfi, where the country is entirely differ- 
ent. Conical rocks of granite and porphyry rise up 
suddenly and break the monotony of the flat bush, 
combining in the neighbourhood of Melfi to form 
massive mountains. From Diana, at the foot of the 
peak of the same name, we beheld the shapely outline 
of this lofty mountain range, melting to violet tints 
on the horizon at sunset. It was for us a particu- 
larly attractive picture, as we had been shut in for so 
many weeks by the bush. But heavy, black clouds 
brooded over the mountain tops, and left no doubt 
in our minds that the rainy season was fast approach- 
ing. A storm set in, which overturned Haberer's 
tent, and drove the sand in our faces. All night sleep 
was rendered impossible by the thunder and light- 
ning and torrential rain. These night storms are char- 
acteristic of the Sokoro Mountains, and are very 
annoying to Europeans, for the houses having 
absorbed heat all day, are unbearably hot, and yet 
if one sleeps in the open air, the chances are that one 
is either driven indoors by rain, or else awakes in the 
morning smothered in sand and gravel. 

On the 10th of April we reached Kiddil, a steep, 
granite mountain rising about 1350 feet above the sea 
level. I reached the summit after a weary climb over 
smooth and slippery rocks, and was rewarded by a 
magnificent view. Melfi is shut in on all sides by 
mountains, and its only means of intercourse with 
the outer world is through a pass which leads east. 
We crossed this pass the following morning. The 
ground was saturated by the pouring rain of the 
previous day, and the moist air did us good. Spring 
was even further advanced here than in the plains, 


the trees and shrubs being covered with fresh, young 
foliage, whilst the birds trilled their morning songs 
in the cool, windy air. 

On the other side of the gorge we were met by the 
governor of this sub-district, Lieutenant Derendinger, 
accompanied by Sokoro chiefs, fellaheen, etc., as well 
as by the kadi. The latter proved a very intelligent 
man, and I am indebted to him for much valuable 
information. (Illus. 87, 89.) After travelling for 
half an hour along well-kept roads, we reached the 
station, where the chiefs (illus. 90) and their men 
insisted on giving us an exhibition of their horseman- 

Mem used to be a quiet, secluded station. (Illus. 
91.) No European ever visited it, and rumours from 
the outer world seldom penetrated to this idyllic 
valley. But now everything has been changed by 
the advent of a new regiment in Wadai, and a con- 
sequent increase in the white population. Moreover, 
relay-transports to Athi and Mungo now travel via 
Melfi. One day we were nine Europeans, by far the 
largest number since the station was founded in 1904. 

There exists in Melfi an interesting tribe known as 
Yalna, which in Arabic means " young people." It 
originated from six runaway slaves who fifty years 
ago sought the protection of the then powerful chief- 
tain of Melfi. Contrary to the usual custom of send- 
ing runaway slaves back to their owners, their request 
was granted on condition that they agreed to work 
without payment. They married native women and 
multiplied, until to-day they number about 1000, in- 
habiting three large villages beyond the mountains, 
and speaking a language of their own. Being ac- 
customed to all kinds of manual labour, they soon 






■ j 

fljtjfci* 1 






learned all the Bagirmi and Arab industries, and at 
the present time possess large herds of cattle. They 
are pleasant people to deal with, and take an 
important part in the business of the station. 

The slave-trade still flourishes in the interior of 
Bagirmi. It is true that there are no longer organised 
slave hunts for adults, but children are secretly kid- 
napped, and find a ready sale. So far, all efforts to 
stop this traffic have failed. The late Sultan Senussi 
of Dar-Kuti is said to have kidnapped hundreds of 
slaves every year. At first he laughed at the pro- 
hibition of the Government, because the station 
garrison consisted of only four men besides the lieutenant 
in charge. But the latter was resolute, and bade the 
sultan choose between obedience and war, warning 
him that the murder of the weak garrison would result 
in his own downfall, for a punitive expedition would 
inevitably follow. Senussi had the sense to submit. 

The chief Mohammedan races in Bagirmi are the 
Haussas, the Arabs, and the Fulbes, of which the latter 
are the most important. No less than thirty Fulbe 
chiefs owe allegiance to Abdullai, the head chief, re- 
siding at Melfi. He is friendly to Europeans, to whom 
he owes part of his kingdom, in return for the tribute 
of 4000 francs which he pays every year. 

The Fulbes are said to be the richest people in the 
district, their wealth being reckoned at 150 francs per 
head, whilst the Arabs are reckoned at 40 francs per 
head, the Kokes at 3 francs, and the Fanjas, who are 
the poorest of all, at 1 \ francs only. 

The Arabs are very widely distributed. (Illus. 92.) 
Besides the Rashid, Salamat, Hemat, Sherefra, and 
Missiri tribes, the powerful Dahahere tribe spreads 
its ramifications all over the surrounding district. 


They are more strict than any of the aborigines of 
Bagirmi in their observance of all the prescribed daily 

The Haussas are chiefly traders, and unfortunately 
Bagirmi is indebted to them for the introduction of 
cheap European rubbish, such as mirrors, bad matches, 
perfumes, etc., which are always eagerly purchased 
by the natives, who give valuable wares in exchange. 
The Haussas are for Bagirmi what the Inders are for 
East Africa. Bo1h have a wonderful facility for 
adapting themselves to the customs of the country, 
and a talent for supplying the necessities of the abori- 
gines. Here, at any rate, the money remains in the 
country, which is not the case in East Africa. 

Twice a week an open market (illus. 94) is held 
in Melfi, which I always made a point of attending. 
All the produce of the country is offered for sale : 
vegetables, fruit, roots, corn, meat, woven materials, 
silver-ware from Tchekna, European rubbish, pottery, 
raw cotton, and medicines, all of which command a 
ready sale to representatives of all the neighbouring 

The Maria-Theresa thaler, so popular elsewhere, is 
not willingly accepted here, and small coins are entirely 
declined. Money is replaced by the gabalc, a strip 
of cotton about 1 inch wide and 100 yards long ; this 
length is equivalent to a Maria-Theresa thaler (3 francs) 
and is divided up into yard lengths. Anyone who 
intends to make large purchases must therefore bring 
great rolls of this material, suspended in pockets from 
each side of his saddle. 

The government at Melfi received in tribute and 
taxes for the year 1910, 36,000 francs, paid in the forms 
of gabalc ; this amounted to over a million of these 


strips, which not only filled all the warehouses to the 
roof, but had to be stacked in heaps in the open air. 
Bagirmi is indebted to the conqueror Rabeh for the 
introduction of its cotton-growing and weaving in- 
dustries, as well as for many other things. 

Medicines of all kinds are very popular, and any 
accidental cure supplies fresh fuel to the ineradicable 
superstition of the natives. We were shown a love 
philtre, composed of all kinds of fruits and roots, also 
a remedy for dog-bites, which is said to confer at 
the same time immunity from robbery. The same 
effect is attributed to the root of a tree, which is 
supposed to give protection against robbers and 
murderers. The native men buy a powder which 
is said to render faithless women virtuous ; it is ex- 
tracted from the heart muscles of certain animals, 
and is secretly introduced into the lady's food. The 
root of a certain tree is reputed to be a safeguard 
against poison, and another is said to be a sure remedy 
for snake-bites. 

There are various perfumes which only certain 
persons are permitted to use. This is the doctors' 
special privilege, and their approach can therefore 
be perceived at some distance off. There is also a 
drug compounded from all kinds of roots, which 
gives protection from medical rivals, and is a 
safeguard against the murderous attacks of jealous 

Every year Melfi is visited by crowds of pilgrims 
on their way to Mecca. In 1909 there were over 
3000 out of which, however, only 80 were men, 
the remainder being women and children. These 
by no means shared in the pious ardour of their male 
companions, but were apparently taken simply for 


their commercial value, the money obtained by their 
sale being required to purchase provisions for the 
journey ! The French Government intervened, for- 
bidding this barbarous plan, and allowed each man 
to take with him only one woman. The remainder 
were left on the hands of the French, and as they had 
no money for the return journey, were obliged to 
settle in Melfi. 

On the second day after our arrival Lieutenent 
Derendinger and I climbed the highest mountain of 
the range overlooking Melfi. We were surprised to 
find that after traversing a sparsely wooded belt, we 
came to a region of bamboos which continued right 
up to the summit. Long grass, too, is abundant, and 
covers almost all the mountains in this district. 
Although only about 3000 feet high, this mountain 
towers above its neighbours, and on reaching the 
summit we enjoyed a wonderfully extensvie view. 

Below in a narrow gorge we could see Bellila, the 
capital of Barein (illus. 93), where Haberer was com- 
pleting his collection of mountain beasts and birds. 
The bird world is widely represented. There is a kind 
of thrush, with gorgeous violet and crimson plumage, 
iridescent in the sunlight, and a sort of hooded raven, 
who forsakes his real home on the breezy mountain- 
tops only for a short occasional visit to the valleys ; 
then there are bearded vultures, humming-birds, and 
other little songsters who live on the plateau. 

Great baboons inhabit the rocks, side by side with a 
kind of dwarf antelope, and the coveted rock-badger, 
quite a number of which adorn our collection. Most 
of the big game leaves the mountains during the dry 
season, and follows the course of the rivers. Gazelles, 
however, exhibit remarkable hardihood, and are found 

82. Herd drinking. 

83. Eunuchs. 

84. Dwelling of the Sultan Garuang's children. 










even in the driest regions ; they are regular visitors to 
the durra fields belonging to the natives. Hyenas howl 
piteously at night. Of these there are two varieties : 
one spotted and the other striped ; I obtained two 
live specimens of the latter kind, and they endeavoured 
to fortify themselves for the long journey to their 
new European home by imbibing prodigious quantities 
of milk. The lions had followed the big game to 
the plains, and the elephants which are usually very 
numerous had betaken themselves to the marshy 
" Marigots," eleven days' march away, the frequent 
April showers not having sufficed to replenish their 
drinking places. 

A disagreeable phenomenon is a small fly living in 
the mountains, which although not vicious, settles in 
crowds on human beings, and gives rise to considerable 
inflammation by crawling into one's eyes. In Bellila, 
where these flies are specially plentiful, cases of con- 
junctivitis and even blindness are common. One of 
Haberer's boys, who was much troubled by these 
torments, narrowly escaped losing an eye. 

But these trifling discomforts were lost sight of in 
our satisfaction with our present quarters, as regards 
the acquisition of zoological specimens and ethno- 
graphical data. Here, too, we discovered, in the form 
of stone hatchets and hammers, traces of a far- 
distant age. The shape and even the cutting edge of 
the hatchets are well preserved. Another interesting 
discovery was the existence of " eatable earth," which 
is known as losle, and is looked upon as a delicacy 
when made into a kind of pudding sauce. 

On the 18th of April the parched ground was re- 
freshed by a heavy fall of rain, which lasted from early 
morning until about 10 o'clock, and depressed the 


thermometer to 73° F. Man and beast alike thank- 
fully inhaled the cooler air, grateful that the heat was 
lessened even if only for a few hours. The storm did 
not drive me indoors ; my waterproof protected me 
from the wet, so I wandered aimlessly around, taking 
deep breaths of a delicious atmosphere smelling 
of fresh blossoms. The air was so clear that the 
mountains seemed quite close, the dark rocks stand- 
ing out sharply against the sky. Even the hygro- 
meter came out of its depression, joyfully leaping up 
to register 100 per cent, of moisture. But our 
hopes of more rain were doomed to disappoint- 
ment ; day and night the sky remained cloudless, 
and we slept peacefully under the starry vault of 

The time passed only too quickly in this ideal spot. 
On the 22nd of April Haberer, Schmidt, and I turned 
our backs on the beautiful mountain scenery, and set 
off once more through the dreary bush. Lieutenant 
Derendinger accompanied us, and as he alone was 
familiar with the whole of our route, we gladly wel- 
comed him as guide. We were bound for Busso, 
on the Shari, and the road from Melfi was almost 
untrodden. But the reports as to the water 
supply were favourable, the unusual rainfall of the 
previous season having left puddles in several 
places. The village wells, too, were said not to be 

These reports proved correct. At Sor, where we 
pitched our camp the first night, we found large water 
troughs with a sufficient supply for our caravan, which 
had been increased by twenty -three oxen and as many 
asses. At Ambajut I shot two hyena-dogs, which are 
zoological rareties. The skull of a hyena-dog seems to 

86. Dance of the Bornu women. 

87. Son of the Cadi of Melfi. 




be much sought after by the natives as a remedy, for 
two Arabs followed me to Nditi in order to beg for 
these remains. When I asked what they wanted them 
for, they replied that the skull was a very potent remedy 
for insanity, from which one of the villagers was suffer- 
ing. Even the water in which the skull had been 
boiled was said to be a certain cure. We saw some 
hippopotami in the Bahr Nditi, a wide stream bordered 
by beautiful scenery. 

We reached Busso after travelling for nine days, 
mostly by short stages. We used to march in the 
evenings for three or four hours, and then sleep in the 
bush, often without water so that we might husband 
our supply for the next day. 

On the SOth of April, after another waterless night 
in the bush, we reached the large village of Delfine, 
which is only a few hours' march from Busso. It is 
a twenty -year-old Bornu settlement, and here we could 
give our thirsty beasts both rest and water, the latter 
being clear and coming from a well sixty feet deep. We 
were much interested in inspecting a large dyeing 
establishment. I counted ten cylindrical holes in 
the ground, containing the dye, which is obtained by 
dissolving indigo in water. Strips of gabalc joined 
to form the wide Bornu sheet, the chalak or hoi 
were the chief things that were dyed. They were 
immersed in three or four successive baths, and then 
dried in the sun. The cost of a dyed chalak is three 
Maria-Theresa thalers, i.e. about nine francs. 

Now that it was not so unbearably hot, our pack 
animals marched well, for the thermometer had fallen 
to 93° F., and as we arrived in Busso, the rainy season 
was setting in. 

For the last two years Busso has ceased to be a 



European station, but when it becomes a relay for 
the Brazzaville-Archambault-Lamy telegraph which 
is now being laid down, it will regain more than its 
former importance. 

A furious hurricane literally blew us into Busso ; it 
lasted several hours and did considerable damage, but 
a second which occurred the following day at noon 
was even more destructive. 

Inky black clouds came up from the West, and long 
before we expected it, the rain fell in torrents. Soon 
everything was under water, and our stacks of pack- 
ing-cases were blown down in an instant. We had no 
notion what had become of Haberer's tent, for though 
it was within twenty paces, it was impossible to see 
anything. I had taken possession of an abandoned 
house, and the rain poured through the roof in torrents. 
Letters and reports, clothes and boots, hats and books 
were blown to the ground, where they lay pell-mell 
and soaking wet. All I could do was to thrust them 
under the bed, this being the only dry spot in the 
house. In half an hour the tornado had spent itself, 
and the sun came out to laugh at our discomfiture. 
The place looked dreary enough. One tent was over- 
turned and its pole broken, and another had remained 
standing only because five strong men had clung with 
all their might to the ropes. Branches and tree-tops 
had been torn down by the wind, and scattered in all 
directions. Some of our cases had been broken, and 
stood full of water, with their contents on the 

The first thing to do was to repair the broken tent- 
pole. One of the newly cut telegraph posts was 
pressed into the service, and after two days' hard 
work, everything was once more in order, and ready 


for the start. Derendinger returned to Mem, and I 
remained for a few days longer in Busso to finish 
some work, whilst Haberer set out for Lai, as soon 
as the caravan had been safely conveyed across the 



There were various preparations to be completed 
before I could set out for Lai. Letters had to be des- 
patched to Lai, Lamy, and Garua, and the pack oxen 
had to be discharged and replaced by others. I de- 
cided to send the baggage by itself, direct to Garua 
via Lere, trusting to luck that it would arrive safely. 
Meanwhile on the 2nd of May, six officers passed Busso 
in a steel-boat, amongst them Captain Dumas, a well- 
known African traveller. This party was but one of 
many, for owing to the unrest in Wadai the military 
force was to be increased to 3000 men. The prompt 
measures taken by the French after the unfortunate 
Moll affair, have certainly had a salutary effect on 
the rebels. 

We crossed the Shari in large canoes, each of which 
held seventy loads and eighty men, whilst the oxen and 
asses swam alongside. These gigantic canoes are char- 
acteristic of the art of ship-building carried on at 
Mafaling, and the cost of one canoe is 30 Maria-Theresa 
thaler s. Their construction is peculiar: the bows are 
low and square, whilst the stern rises high into the 
air like that of a Viking galley. The sides are made 
of rough planks held together by rushes and bark. 
The canoes consequently are not water - tight, and 
constant baling is necessary in order to keep them 

89. School in Dagirmi. 


90. Arab chiefs in Bagirmi. 


As we were loading the oxen on the opposite bank, 
we noticed that the sky in the West was as black as 
ink, and thick white clouds, which we at first mistook 
for smoke, were advancing towards us. We soon 
realised that the approaching storm was driving before 
it great clouds of sand. When everything had been 
made secure, Schmidt and I put on our waterproofs 
and stood watching the advance of the storm through 
our field-glasses. It came nearer and nearer, and 
at last we turned our backs to it, and were almost 
thrown to the ground as the tornado burst upon us, 
pelting us with sand, so that we could not open our 
eyes. In a few seconds nothing was to be seen but 
driving, swirling sand. Every landmark had dis- 
appeared and conversation was impossible. I opened 
my mouth to shout to my companion, and it was 
instantly filled with sand. At such moments the 
only thing to do is to keep still and wait for the fury 
of the storm to abate. In half an hour the wind had 
fallen sufficiently to enable us to begin digging out 
the buried loads, and fastening them on the backs 
of the animals. 

At last we started, and in a quarter of an hour 
reached a branch of the Shari, which had to be 
crossed. The water was so rough that the beasts 
at first refused to enter the water, then midway 
they took the wrong direction and fell into holes ; 
many of the loads tumbled into the water, amongst 
them my photographic apparatus, the tents, and 
some tin cases. Two hours had elapsed before 
we were ready to set out once more. It rained 
hard, and in our soaking clothes we were bitterly 

The road to Lai is little used by Europeans, as the 


officers and officials proceeding to this station usually 
travel via Archambault. 

The road lay through the bush as far as Tshagen, 
which up to 1908 was in German Cameroons ; at the 
little Gabri village of Djogto we entered upon a vast 
treeless plain, 50 to 60 miles in length, which extends 
far beyond the Logone, becoming more and more 
barren. In the midst of it lies Nderesia, a huge Gabri 
village (illus. 96, 97, 99) consisting of four large 
sections, which contain altogether 2000 inhabitants. 
The structure of the houses is interesting, the roofs 
being made of long straw, plaited in the upper half ; 
below this the straw hangs loose almost to the ground. 
These villages also possess remarkable granaries, in 
the form of large round plaited baskets, resting on 
wooden supports. 

Two huge, fat, naked figures, wearing nothing but 
a short, hide skirt over their buttocks, advanced to 
meet us, and introduced themselves as the chief and 
his brother. They conducted us to a newly built 
hut, near an enormous round granary, which was about 
12 feet high, and 50 feet in circumference. (Illus. 98.) 

Scarcely any Europeans have ever before penetrated 
to this obscure village, so that money in the shape 
of coins was absolutely unknown to them, and was 
refused. Tobacco, however, was accepted in exchange 
for what we wanted, also salt, and agate beads, which 
are made in Bagirmi. I gave the chief a large mirror, 
which attracted a large crowd, everyone being anxious 
to verify for himself the astounding assertion that he 
could see himself in it. 

A few men wore full beards, but this did not appear to 
be so universal a custom as in Tshagen. We noticed 
some richly ornamented pots, but they all came from 


Kim, and there was no sign of any indigenous industry. 
The Gabris are, however, excellent horse breeders, and 
the animals resemble those reared by the Musgums. 
Here, too, we observed open sores on each side of the 
horses' backs, produced by the bare-back riding of 
naked men. 

The desert is interrupted west of Nderesia by a 
belt of forest, which like the bush round Djogto, is 
the home of rhinoceroses. On the march I was for- 
tunate enough to shoot one ; he suddenly appeared 
out of the bush about forty paces away, and received 
one ball in the shoulder and another in the body. He 
then took to flight, but on reaching a clearance, I saw 
the wounded animal running slowly with his head 
down. I fired both barrels, and at thirty paces he 
turned and faced me. I fired in his face, and he fell 
down, but staggered to his feet and made off. A 
hundred paces further I found him, mortally wounded, 
and lying on the ground with my Senegal guide beside 
him. A bullet in the forehead at twenty paces finished 
him, and he rolled over dead. (Illus. 100.) It took 
four hours to remove the head and skin, which was 
first placed on the back of an ox ; but it proved too 
heavy, so six men carried it to my camp. A rhino- 
ceros is seldom encountered in the open plain, but 
we saw herds of antelopes of all kinds. We also 
observed recent giraffe spoors, which were always 
stealthily tracked by lions. 

The plain was dotted at intervals with Euphorbias 
and Boras sus palms, and now at the beginning of the 
rainy season the journey was pleasant enough, though 
a few months later it would have been very dis- 
agreeable. In September and October, the height 
of the wet season, all communication ceases between 


the villages ; the whole country between Tshagen 
and Kabbia is then a vast lake, from which the high- 
lying villages protrude like islands. In some places, 
in Mande for example, the natives protect themselves 
from the water by constructing great mounds, on 
which the houses are crowded, and the whole sur- 
rounded by a wall and moat. 

On the 14th of May we rode into Lai, after follow- 
ing the course of the Logone for two hours. Lai is 
certainly the prettiest station between Ubangi and 
Tchad. (Illus. 105.) Gardens have been planted, 
green hedges border the roads, and there is a broad 
walk, sixty feet wide, dividing the town into two 
parts, which is used on Sundays for games and races. 

The town owes its development to Captain Faure, 
who fell at Colonel Moll's side in the battle of Dorote 
in Wadai, after he had greatly distinguished himself, 
and had caused the enemy to lose 1500 men. He is 
said to have been a man of unusual energy, and his 
stern discipline inspired the natives with a whole- 
some respect, and has had excellent results. Captain 
Loisy who succeeded him, is kinder and more con- 
siderate, and consequently more popular. During 
Rabeh's wars, many refugees fled to Lai. When 
peace was declared, many of them left, but it still 
has a population of about 3000, who belong to seven 
tribes : the Kabas, Bays, Domros, Guleis, Handjeres, 
Kolongs, and Haussas. Each of these lives apart 
in its own quarter, outside the town proper. 

The original inhabitants of Lai are the Kabas, a 
tall, handsome race. The men especially are remark- 
able for their size and strength, the women being 
smaller and rather thick-set. (Illus. 101 to 104.) As 
ornaments they wear thick ropes of blue and white 

92. Arab girl. 

93. Barein children. 

94. Market at Melfi. 

95. Weaver in Bagirmi. 


beads wound round their necks and bodies. These, 
with a cap made of white beads, are their only attempt 
at clothing. 

The Government has tried to introduce the use of 
money, but without much success, at any rate in the 
" Province," for the people seldom leave their villages 
and do not know what to do with their money. In 
the " town " the gurs, or Maria - Theresa thaler, 
is current, and even francs are willingly accepted. 
The taxes are still paid everywhere in the form of 
iron knives of various shapes, two of which are 
reckoned as being equivalent to 50 centimes. The in- 
terior of a warehouse containing 10,000 francs worth 
of these knives can readily be imagined, and the desire 
to introduce a coinage is not unreasonable. After 
leaving Lai we employed bearers again, eighty-two in 
number, and sent the oxen back to the Shari. We 
halted at Draingolo (illus. 106), a large Kaba fishing 
village, as evidenced by numerous fishing pots and fish 
drying apparatus. (Illus. 107.) We witnessed a fishing 
expedition in the Logone, at which the greater part 
of the male population assisted. The men were 
posted in a long line from one bank to the other of 
the river, which is here about 330 yards wide. Each 
man held one end of a small rectangular hand-net, 
and swam with it often for more than half a mile. 

The following day we came to the dwellings of the 
Massas. (Illus. 109, 110.) Their houses were different 
to any we had so far seen, being built of mud, with 
thatched roofs. In the larger villages they are 
crowded together in an inextricable labyrinth, and 
the exit will allow only one man to pass at a time. 
Scattered throughout the country are isolated ham- 
lets consisting usually of one house for the man, and 


one or two for his wives, together with a large earthen- 
ware granary, the whole being surrounded by a mud 
wall. The interior of the dwellings is most primitive. 
On the left of the narrow entrance is a small clay 
hearth, about eight inches high, which contains two 
earthenware pots ; on the right is the sleeping place, 
consisting of a square wooden bed, or perhaps merely 
of a mat. A few utensils complete the inventory. 

The various languages spoken in this district are 
very numerous, and one dialect is often confined to 
one or two villages. There is no lingua franca; 
generally, however, one of the bearers knows the lan- 
guage of the place, or on the other hand some villager 
can usually speak Kaba, Massa, or Bana. 

The blacksmiths form an important guild among 
the Massas, and the Tomaks also practise this art. 
We saw some beautifully engraved copper bracelets, 
the metal for which is imported from Bagirmi. They 
also manufacture knives. 

Clever little horses scampered about the pastures ; 
they were mostly mares with their foals, and were 
often up to their bellies in mud. Every day the rain 
poured down in torrents, accompanied by thunder and 
lightning. We found a good deal of big game, and 
the red skins of the grass antelopes could be seen 
on all sides. The next day we had a long day's 
journey to Ham, starting at 3 a.m., and reaching 
Djiman at 8 o'clock. Here we rested for a few hours, 
and set out again at noon. We passed through ex- 
cellent hunting country, for the road diverges from 
the river, which here bends to the West. Hunting 
relieved the tedium of the journey, and I shot five 
buck. Three hours later we again approached the 
river, and were glad to see in the distance the outskirts 

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96. Wood-store of the Gabri. 

97. Houses of the Gabri. 

98. Corn urn of the Gabri. 

99. Soothsayer. 


of Ham. Another hour and a half brought us into the 
town, where we were hospitably welcomed by Mons. 
Helling, the manager of the factory belonging to the 
" Compagnie de l'Ouhame." 

Ham (illus. 114), formerly on the frontier between 
the Old Cameroons and the French territory, is a large 
Bana settlement (illus. Ill), and is built on two 
hills, which in the rainy season are converted into 
islands by the Logone. The houses, with their courts 
and alleys, are crowded together and surrounded by a 
mud wall. 

I did not stay long in Ham, but rode on alone with 
Schmidt to Bongor. It was a cool, cloudy day, so 
we covered the thirty miles in four hours and a half. 

Bongor is undeniably an attractive place, with a 
wonderful view over the Logone River. 

The Banas (illus. 115, 116) in many respects re- 
semble the Massas and Kabas. Like them they go 
about naked, excepting for the little hide skirt cover- 
ing their loins. The women wear nothing but a narrow 
strip of bast round their hips, which is kept in place 
by another thin cord, and they almost all have a peg 
in their upper lip. The men are wild, sturdy fellows, 
with long, greasy hair ; they are well built, and some 
of them are of herculean strength. Iron bracelets 
and anklets adorn their muscular limbs. They are 
armed with a heavy club, and I gained some idea of 
the injury that it can inflict by seeing a man who had 
been clubbed on the head a month previously, and 
whose skull had been almost flattened by the blow. 
Strange to relate, though he fainted, he appeared to 
have suffered no further inconvenience. 

Intercourse with all these primitive tribes presents 
considerable difficulties, for they have only recently 


been brought into contact with civilisation. The 
authority of the chiefs is merely nominal, and no 
one pays any attention to their orders. If one of 
these little rulers attempted to enforce obedience, 
he would certainly be made an example of and 
murdered. Considerable energy, patience, and tact 
are required in order to obtain the necessary bearers. 

In the evenings Lieutenant Meyer and I explored 
the neighbourhood on horseback. The Logone was 
already rising, owing to the torrential rain. We 
rode along roads which would have done credit to 
a park, bordered by green turf, and shut in by forest 
trees. There were large herds of saiga antelopes and 
reed-buck in the forest, and hippopotami splashed about 
in the water. We watched the Bana mode of fishing. 
The men swam in the river with hand-nets opening 
like oyster shells, and at a given signal they all dived 
together, and there was nothing to be seen but dozens 
of legs kicking in the water. As soon as a fish got 
into a net, the fisherman swam ashore, and deposited 
it on the bank. The Banas are excellent swimmers, 
and when fishing often remain a long time under 
water. Along the banks were a crowd of women, 
busy catching small fish in a kind of basket shaped 
like a bell. 

On the 29th of May we marched south-west, and 
again crossed the Logone during a tornado, which 
wrecked one of the boats. We camped at Dengereng, 
where the Tuburi River suddenly spreads out into 
a lake 1600 feet wide, and, in places, over six feet 

Fianga and Mata are the capitals of the districts 
of the same names, Fianga being also the Government; 
station for this sub -division. The Governor, Lieu- 

101 and 102. Kaba maiden. 

103 and 104. Kaba woman. 


tenant Lamoroux, lives in a large straw hut, and 

i another was placed at my disposal. Professor Haberer, 

I whose health left much to be desired, and who was 

J suffering severely from dysentery, preferred to camp 

in the bush. Unfortunately he got no better, so that 

| it became necessary to send him on to Lere where 

better accomodation could be obtained. As he was 

too ill to walk, he was carried. 

I remained behind a few days longer, and rode about 
the country with my camera, taking snapshots of the 
scenery and people. The natives were very shy about 
being photographed. All the inhabitants fled in 
crowds from all the villages through which I passed, 
and even the children in the fields ran away in a panic. 
A few came back when we called them, but most of 
them took to their heels, as if the devil were behind 
them. These tribes are only half subdued, and they 
are certainly treated in a way which is not calculated 
to inspire confidence, being overburdened with carrying 
work, which they detest. 

The people living south of the river are also very 
wild and insubordinate, and Haberer was one day 
surrounded and threatened in an alarming manner. 
The country round Palla is quite unexplored, and has 
never yet been visited by a European. The opening 
up of these districts is reserved for the Germans, since 
the whole of this part forms a portion of their newly 
acquired territory. 

The agricultural occupations of the natives are 
principally horse and cattle rearing, and the size of 
the herd gives an idea of the wealth of the proprietor. 
They also do a good deal of fishing, for the river is 
well stocked with fish. The latter is sold to the Lakas, 
who own a rich iron mine in Palla, the value of which 


has not yet been estimated. A fish as thick as one's 
arm is considered equivalent to two handfuls of iron ; 
this is converted by the blacksmiths into axes and 
knives, and also serves as a means of payment. Two 
axes are paid for one fowl, and three fowls are worth 
two knives. The fish are caught with nets and spears, 
the latter being used chiefly for killing the large Siluroid 
fish. The longest of these that I saw speared measured 
55 inches, and this length is said to have been exceeded. 
Very little meat is eaten, but a great deal of milk is 

I was obliged to delay starting, as my demands for 
bearers were met by the wholesale flight of the villagers, 
but at last on the 4th of June I was able to set out. 
We halted at Yue on the Mao-Kebbi River. (Illus. 
112.) Here we found a great number of hippopotami, 
a few of which I killed, and gave them to the bearers 
and villagers, who look upon this meat as a great 

The following morning nine bearers were missing. 
I ordered the chief to find me others in their place, 
threatening otherwise to attack the village. He 
replied that I must do as I pleased, as he was unable 
to help me since no one would obey his orders. In a 
few hours' time our Senegalese procured some new 
bearers, and we started for M'brau, which we reached 
at 10 a.m. 

The following day we came to a large Fulbe village 
on the Mao-Lede, in a mountainous district. The 
houses have mud walls, and are surrounded by hedges 
made of straw plaited in a special way. I rested here 
for a day, and shot a giraffe. The Gauthiot Falls, 
which previously have only twice been visited by 
Europeans, take their name from their discoverer, who 

107. Fish-drying frame. 

108. Massa village. 


came upon them when he was navigating the Mao- 
Kebbi. They are a wonderful sight, for the water 
dashes down from a height of over 160 feet. I rode 
over the stony hills, and again struck the Mao-Kebbi, 
here known as the Mao-Pe. It is a true forest stream, 
| surrounded by beautiful woods, but its banks swarm 
with tsetse flies. Further on I crossed the dry beds 
of the Mao-Lede, the Mao-Deng, and the Mao- 

The road rises steadily towards the West, and a 
beautiful view is disclosed extending as far as the 
mountains of German Binder. 
We reached Lere on the 9th of June. (Illus. 113.) 
I The castle -like houses built by the Mundangs are real 
works of art. (Illus. 117.) Lere is unique as regards 
both the architecture and the distribution of its houses. 
Straight lines are the ruling principle, the walls being per- 
pendicular and the roofs horizontal. The buildings are 
! of mud, and the roofs are made of thick, interlaced sticks 
i covered with mud. The inside is complicated, especi- 
i ally in the women's houses. There is a sitting-room, 
j a bedroom, a kitchen, a dining-room, and an outhouse 
j for storing wood and provisions. The whole forms 
j a small labyrinth, the centre of which is pitch dark. 
The inner walls of the principal rooms are polished, 
which makes them look clean and neat. There is 
also in every case a circular granary, built like a 

The sultan Lamido Ganthiome's palace is a huge build- 
ing. (Illus. 119.) It resembles a castle, and besides the 
sultan's house and that of his sons, contains stables, 
a reception room, and an entrance hall, as well as 
apartments for about a hundred wives. There are also 
within the building the usual tall, circular granaries. 


(illus. 120), which are entered through a round hole 
in the top, just big enough to admit a man, and to 
which a ladder gives access. Inside they are divided 
by partitions, so that the different kinds of corn may 
be kept separate. 

The Lamido possesses considerable authority, and 
takes a great interest in the cultivation of the fields. 
The French taught him how to grow cotton, and 
supplied him with seed. 

Lere lies at the foot of rocky mountains, from the 
top of which there is a magnificent view over the sur- 
rounding country. Beyond the mountains there are 
two lakes, a large and a small one. They are full of 
fish, and on the banks there is a most interesting animal, 
a kind of mermaid or walrus, which the Mundangs 
call a nebi. It is also found in the Benue and on 
the Cameroons coast. It is oval in shape, and when 
full-grown is about ten feet long ; its skin is as thick 
as that of a hippopotamus, and the natives make it 
into whips. Native hunters kill the nebi with a har- 
poon, and one of them boasted to me that he had 
killed more than a hundred. My own attempts with 
a rifle failed. When the lake was smooth, I often saw 
the heads of these interesting creatures appearing 
above the surface of the water, and heard their strange 
cries. One day I watched a nebi hunter in his boat. 
Noiselessly he paddled hither and thither, and suddenly 
he wheeled round. Surely he must have sighted a 
nebi ! For half an hour he hurried to and fro ; at 
last he seemed to be close to his prey, he drew in his. 
paddles, took his harpoon in his right hand, raised 

himself cautiously, aimed carefully and missed ! 

Presently the same thing happened again, so that I 
began to think that this method of hunting must be 

109. Massa head-dress. 

110. Massa women. 

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111. Bana farmstead near Ham. 

112. The Mao-Kebbi. 


somewhat precarious. Before leaving, I offered a 
large reward for the capture of one of these animals, 
but nothing came of it. 

The manners and customs of the Mundangs resemble 
those of the neighbouring tribes. Their principal 
occupation is agriculture, but they also fish. They 
cultivate peas and beans, potatoes and nuts, as well 
as the various varieties of durra. Cattle rearing is 
also an important industry. 

The Mundang burial ceremonies are interesting. 
The rich have a long, rectangular grave, but the poor 
are put into a round hole. A man is placed on his 
left side in a squatting posture, with his head point- 
ing to the North, and his hands folded above it. A 
woman is placed in a similar position, but on her right 
side. Wailing is an important part of the ceremonial, 
and is kept up for several days ; it may even last a 
year with intervals of rest. Great feasting and carous- 
ing takes place in honour of the dead ; millet beer, 
which is called pipi, flows freely, and numerous cows 
and goats are sacrificed. 

The Mundangs are a strong, fearless people, and have 
often fought with the Fulbes, when the latter sought 
to enlarge their borders. It is a remarkable fact that 
the well armed and mounted Fulbes were generally 
defeated by these naked savages, armed only with 
bows and poisoned arrows. 

On the 15th of June we left Lere. Lieutenant 
Bouhaben accompanied me as far as the lake, where 
our collapsible boat was waiting to convey me to 
Kebbi, at the western extremity of the lake. Haberer 
had already spent some days here, and in spite of his 
illness had collected a good many specimens. Schmidt 
followed by road with the caravan. I hoped to kill a 


nebi during the three hours' voyage, but was doomed 
to disappointment. 

At Kebbi I was met by Lieutenant Weyse, and we 
travelled on together in a tandem dog-cart, accom- 
panied by a mounted escort. As far as Golombe the 
roads were very heavy, and the water was often up to 
our axles. Further on we came to a mountainous 
district ; the road became steeper and steeper, and 
the landscape wilder and more beautiful. A band of 
Fulbe horsemen in their brilliant dress, added to the 
beauty of the scenery. Amongst them was the son 
of the Lamido of Garua, sent by his father to 
welcome us. 

On the 20th of June we set out in the early morning, 
and a two hours' ride brought us within sight of the 
outskirts of Garua. Like a castle set on a hill, its 
white towers gleamed in the sunlight against the dark 
background of the mountains. Garua may well be 
proud both of its superb position, and of its steadily 
increasing population. 

The days passed rapidly in visiting the Lamido and 
the town, and in riding about the neighbourhood. 
One day we made an excursion to the interesting 
Falli hamlets on the Tengelin plateau. Their mush- 
room-like huts are crowded together on the plateau, 
and in the valleys and gorges of the mountains. Their 
impregnable position, as well as their poisoned arrows, 
safeguards their independence. Many of the ham- 
lets are surrounded by a Euphorbia hedge, and we 
also saw some large monkey trees. 

Early in July we bade farewell to Garua, and a 
steel-boat conveyed us down the Benue homeward 
bound ! 


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.8. Station house at Lere. 

119. Lamido Ganthiome and two of his wives. 



On the 26th of December 1910 His Highness, First 
Lieutenant von Raben, Professor Haberer, Doctor 
Trepper, and I set out on our travels through the 
country inhabited by the Musgums, between the 
Logone and the Shari. This is a part of the Cameroons 
which has probably been less explored than any other. 
An escort of fifteen horsemen belonging to the 3rd 
Company, stationed in Kusseri, accompanied our 
caravan, and made a striking appearance in their 
khaki uniforms and red caps, with their carbines slung 
from their saddles. The Mecklenburg flag and the 
German standard fluttered at the head of the caravan. 
We rode next, followed by the cavalry, whilst the 
" boys " and 180 bearers brought up the rear. It was 
a glorious morning, and our spirits rose as we rode 
through the bush ; every now and then we caught 
sight of water-buck, grass antelopes, roan buck, and 
wart hogs. 

At about noon we reached the Kanuri hamlet, Udjun- 
Gubua, and here we encamped. The horses were 
watered and groomed, and the whole picture called 
to mind an African field-day. The following day 
the scenery was very similar, and we came across 
several gazelles, and innumerable birds of all kinds. 
They twittered on every bough, reminding us of a 



spring day at home. We saw an extraordinary 
number of guinea-fowls in flocks of about sixty, but 
they were very timid, and concealed themselves as 
we approached, or else flew away. 

On the 28th of December, at about 10 a.m. we 
approached Karnak, a town situated on the Logone. 
Sultan Mohammed rode out to welcome us, followed 
by a large crowd of natives beating drums, and blow- 
ing trumpets, looking very picturesque in their white 
or gaily coloured dress. We rode into the town 
beside the sultan, through a lane of about two hun- 
dred horsemen, who made a brilliant display on their 
richly caparisoned steeds. Their bridles were gorgeous i 
with long, hanging tassels, and wide brass frontlets. 
Many of the horses wore a kind of armour of padded 
silk, which covered their whole bodies from head to 
foot, and their saddles were embroidered with scarlet 
and gold. All these splendid trappings glowing in 
the African sunlight, with a deep blue sky overhead, 
and a background of green thorn bush, made a truly 
striking picture which I shall never forget. 

Then came the infantry : 3000 bowmen and spear- 
men mostly in blue uniforms. This guard of honour 
escorted us into the town, amid the ear-splitting din 
of kettledrums, wooden trombones, trumpets, and 
the trampling, jingling, and neighing of the horses. 
Then a crowd of women advanced to meet us, and 
expressed their pleasure by waving their hands, and 
making a shrill, bleating noise. They swarmed 
round our horses till they began to prance, and we 
were forced to halt in order to avoid trampling on 

On all sides men, women, and children were crowded 
on the flat roofs, whence they peered curiously at the 


white strangers. The sultan accompanied us to the 
guest house, immediately opposite the palace. Be- 
tween our house and the palace was a wide space in 
the middle of which stood a gigantic fig-tree. Every- 
body was holiday making, and the sounds of drums 
and dancing met our ears on all sides. After a short 
mid-day siesta we once more mounted our horses, and 
explored the town under the sultan's guidance. 

Karnak with its 5000 inhabitants, is considerably 
larger than Kusseri, but the busy traffic which char- 
acterises that town of fishermen is wanting here. 
Many of the large, well-built houses are falling into 
ruin, and traces of Rabeh's dominion are discernible. 
The inhabitants make very pretty objects of plaited 
straw, also beautifully carved wooden bowls. 

The Shoa women executed a very graceful dance. 
Ten to fifteen women and girls stood in line accord- 
ing to their height, rythmically beating two wooden 
clappers, and wagging their heads from side to side 
with closed eyes. Whether they shut their eyes in 
order to avoid giddiness, or whether this is a 
feature of the dance, I could not make out. Little 
girls of eight or ten were particularly attractive when 
amusing themselves in this fashion. The boys pre- 
ferred wilder dances, and leapt in circles like young 
maniacs, dressed most fantastically. 

Sultan Mohammed had sent us a number of pre- 
sents, amongst which was a young lioness who sub- 
sequently became my travelling companion. Our 
ride ended at the palace, where we tendered our gifts 
in return. 

The palace is a perfect labyrinth of courts and 
passages, in which we should infallibly have lost our 
way without a guide. We were particularly interested 


in examining five rectangular pillars supporting the 
mud roof of the audience chamber, which are richly 
decorated, and adorned with pictures. The latter 
are specially wonderful in that Islam possesses no 
school of painting. Religious principles are not, how- 
ever, rigidly enforced, and we unbelievers were allowed 
to visit even the harem, in which there are about 
a hundred and thirty-five women and thirty children. 
We gave presents to the five eldest boys and the two 
eldest girls, and the children ran proudly to show the 
gifts to their playfellows. 

All the houses are built of mud, including the flat 
roofs, which are connected with the interior by means 
of a staircase. A few houses and huts have thatched 
roofs, some of which, as in Kusseri, are adorned with 
ostrich eggs : the symbol of prosperity. 

The neighbourhood of Karnak is well stocked with 
big game, and during three quarters of an hour's deer- 
stalking, I shot two roan buck and a Ducker. On the 
29th of December, with a view to enriching our zoolo- 
gical collection, we organised a big hunt. At half- 
past six in the morning we set out accompanied by j 
our soldiers and about three hundred spearmen. We 
took up our positions on a densely wooded plain j 
covered with acacia bushes and tall, dry grass. The 
beaters advanced with terrific yells and shouts. After 
four drives we rode home, having secured a bag of 
three wart hogs, three gazelles, two roan buck, and 
an elk. 

The next day was Friday, the Mohammedan 
Sabbath, and a review of the entire army took place 
in front of the sultan's palace. With drums beating, 
and trumpets blowing, the sultan made his appear- 
ance on horseback, magnificently apparelled, and 


surrounded by his life-guard. The crowd cheered 
wildly as he rode forward to greet his mother, followed 
by the German flag and the trombone players. Then 
he took up his stand beneath the great fig-tree, and 
proceeded to review his troops. 

The march past made a most gorgeous picture, and 
when the entire cavalry charged at full gallop, the 
enthusiasm of the onlookers knew no bounds. 

The next morning the sad news spread through the 
town that the sultan's mother had died during the 
night, and the court was plunged into mourning. 

After supper we brewed some New Year's Eve punch, 
Professor Haberer assuming the office of cupbearer. 
We sat together under the starry sky of Central Africa, 
drinking one another's health, and thinking of our 
loved ones at home. At midnight three salutes were 
fired, and rockets shot up into the sky. 

At six o'clock on New Year's morning our baggage 
was shipped across the Logone, and at seven, we said 
good-bye to the sultan, and followed. After crossing 
the river, we mounted our horses, and rode for some 
time through a flat, sparsely-wooded country. Gradu- 
ally the bush grew thicker, and tamarinds and thorny 
acacia shut out the view. At eleven o'clock we encamped 
near the Kanuri village, Aisambuli. 

The following morning, having started as usual 
before daylight, we shot a few gazelles and franco- 
lins, but failing to find the latter, and not wanting 
to lose them altogether, we set fire to the long grass. 
This brought to light a gigantic puff-adder, the most 
venomous snake in Africa, which we fortunately 
succeeded in killing with a stick. 

At the village of Kalchoa we received a letter from 
von Wiese telling us that his companion, Sergeant- 


Major Roder, had fallen ill with blackwater fever. 
He had accordingly been landed at Mandjafa and 
Sergeant-Major Draheim had been asked to take his 
place. Haberer set out the very same night, and by 
eleven o'clock the following morning he was at the 
patient's bed-side. Apart from the serious nature 
of the illness, which we all sincerely regretted, this 
occurrence was a great misfortune for von Wiese, 
who lost in Roder a valuable assistant. He was par- 
ticularly useful as treasurer, accountant, and journalist, 
and also as photographer. I made a few sketches 
in Kalchoa, and then wandered off into the bush by 
myself. Suddenly I caught sight of a magnificent wild 
boar standing like a statue in the shadow of an acacia, 
about a hundred yards away. I fired, but the boar 
did not stir. Cautiously I crept nearer, and then I 
realised that my boar was nothing but a tree stump ! 
Fortunately there was no one looking on to make 
fun of me. The resemblance was so striking, that 
I returned to the spot whence I had fired to look once 
more at this trick of Nature. 

We were now nearing the Musgum territory. On i 
the march the Duke shot an eland, a hog, and a 
Ducker. At the Musgum village of Madubbu we 
received the welcome news of an improvement in 
Roder's condition. The bush now consisted chiefly 
of acacias, which grew so close together that we could 
see nothing. Suddenly our guide pointed out three 
equine antelopes (Hippotragus equinus) standing in 
a clearance. I looked on whilst the Duke stalked 
them, and succeeded in shooting two of them. Before 
they were skinned I sketched the dead animals. 

About noon the good-natured looking Musgum chief, 
Mattai, rode out to welcome us. He imitated the 




sultan of Logone, and appeared at the head of a body- 
guard of about forty horsemen. Some of them wore 
old Rabeh uniforms, others were clothed in chalalcs, 
but the majority were entirely naked. The foot- 
soldiers presented a curious appearance, all of them 
wild, naked savages, armed with shields and bows 
or spears. They were followed by a crowd of women, 
who ran to meet us, uttering shrill cries of welcome. 
I shall never forget the extraordinary appearance of 
these members of the fair sex. In place of mouths 
they have regular beaks, but I will leave the des- 
cription of these African beauties until later. 

After a brief rest at the station of Maniling, we 
crossed the Shari, and rode on to the little village 
Abari, where Roder was lying ill, in charge of Haberer. 
We found him still very weak, but happily out of 
danger. As it was feared that travelling might bring 
on a relapse, it was decided that he should remain 
another week at Abari. 

The heat became more and more oppressive the 
further we went from the Logone. In Kusseri the 
thermometer was hardly ever above 82° F., whereas 
here it stood at 95° F. in the shade. The nights, too, 
were hot, whilst at Kusseri in the early morning I 
often wore my thick sweater. Near Maniling we 
again noticed rhinoceros spoors, and we were anxious 
to ascertain whether they belonged to the common 
East African rhinoceros (rhinoceros bicornis) or to 
the wide-mouthed, so-called white variety (rhinoceros 

During the afternoon we witnessed a sham fight 
between the Musgum warriors, infantry versus 
cavalry. (Illus. 122.) They hurled themselves upon 
one another with realistic impetuosity, and were soon 


enveloped in a thick cloud of dust. A few men were 
knocked down, but they jumped up laughing, and 
returned to the fray. The riders pulled their horses on 
to their haunches within a yard or two of the foot- 
soldiers, who leapt to one side, and then with immense 
bounds rushed madly in pursuit of the flying cavalry. 
Whenever a man fell off his horse, he was greeted with 
shrieks of delight from the onlookers. 

The following day we rested ; in the morning I 
made some drawings, and in the afternoon we took 
part in a most successful fishing expedition. The 
next day at 5.30 a.m. the Duke and Lieutenant von 
Raben went off hunting, whilst I removed our camp 
from Maniling to the Shari. I saw thousands of 
wattle-ducks and golden-crested cranes ; during the 
night hyenas, attracted by the scent of dead game, 
howled round the camp. 

The Duke had been lucky enough to kill two rhino- 
ceroses, and I started off at once to sketch them. 
(Illus. 123.) As I had anticipated, it was not the 
wide-mouthed Muchuco, but the common East African 
Borele, which is found between the East Coast and 
the Shari. The home of the Muchuco on the other 
hand, is in a small area chiefly in Bahr-el-Ghazal, 
and in the neighbourhood of Lado, on the upper Nile. 

Schmidt toiled day and night at the preparation 
of the skins, and the hyenas howled all night round 
the camp. We set a trap for them, but caught 
nothing but a vulture. 

Schmidt transferred our camp to Maniling (illus. 124), 
and went on ahead of us with the baggage. Roder 
had now almost recovered, and for the first time was 
able to take some quinine without any bad results. 
Professor Haberer still remained in charge of him. 

125. Musgum women at Maniling. 


At six a.m. I set off rhinoceros hunting. I soon came 
across fresh spoors, which I followed for three-quarters 
of an hour, expecting every moment to come up with 
the animal. I had tracked him for some distance, 
when I suddenly heard him crashing through the 
bushes. Presently I found his lair, which was still 
quite warm, and on the ground were some huge ticks 
which he had scratched off his body. But I had got 
to windward of the animal, so as there was little chance 
of my coming up with him, I rode home to camp. 
On the way my guide pointed out a fine equine ante- 
lope, standing about two hundred and fifty yards away. 
I dismounted hastily, and ran till I was within range ; 
but I was so out of breath that I could not aim 
properly, and overshot the mark. And the fine 
antelope galloped off and was seen no more ! 

On the 15th the Duke, von Raben, Schmidt, and I 
set out towards Musgum, the capital of the district 
of the same name. We forded the Bahr-Sling, a 
tributary of the Shari, which from March till June 
is quite dry, but was now so full of water that our 
horses waded breast-high. A three hours' ride through 
acacia covered plains brought us within sight of Morno, 
which like all Musgum villages, consists of a large 
number of isolated hamlets, each composed of four or 
five huts. In the midst of them stands a gigantic bowl 
about twenty feet high, which serves as a granary ; 
some of them are rudely decorated. Each hamlet 
| is invariably occupied by one family only, and as 
! they are built several hundred yards apart, a village 
often extends for three or four miles. 

Shrill, ear-splitting female voices issued from every 
hut, and as we were pitching our tents, several 
screaming ladies approached and greeted us by turn- 


ing somersaults in front of us. As they had nothing i 
on, and their only ornaments consisted of large zinc 
or iron pegs in both lips (illus. 125), these capers were 
indescribably funny. 

A heat wave which had been oppressing us now | 
passed over, and at 6 a.m. the thermometer regis- j 
tered only 50° F., though during the day it still rose 
to 98°, and occasionally to 104°. A hot wind which 
felt as if it came from a furnace, blew all the time, 
and was exceedingly disagreeable. 

I obtained a young serval (African tiger-cat) which 
soon became the devoted playmate of my lioness. 
Both were quite tame, and ran freely about the camp. 
The lioness, whose name is Simba, had grown con- j 
siderably since she came to us, and was continually 
playing tricks on us to our great amusement. (Illus. 
126, 127.) A third member of the party was a young 
hyena who was very quaint, but at the same time 
the ugliest beast that can be imagined. Her hind- 
legs were only half the length of her fore-legs, and her 
huge head hung from her neck like a big ball. At 
night she howled persistently, scratching and strugg- 
ling to get out. So she was put in Haberer's charge. 

We halted at Diau in order to inspect the iron- works j 
in the neighbourhood, and we purchased specimens , 
of the native handicraft. Gazelles were browsing: 
everywhere in the fields, and even in the villages ; 
I am not quite sure to what species they belonged, 
but I think they were " red headed gazelles " (Gazella 
rufifrons Gray). 

Our way now led through endless treeless plains,; 
with here and there a green oasis crowded with) 
thousands of herons, geese, and ducks, huge flocks 
of beautiful golden-crested cranes, and many other 


birds. Herds of cattle, horses, and mares with their 
foals grazed peacefully near the villages, so that we 
could almost fancy ourselves at home. 

We saw in the distance the most curious houses 
I have ever come across in Africa. They were shaped 
like sugar cones or bee-hives ; they were about thirty- 
five feet high, and the outer walls were adorned with 
rude carvings. 

These strange houses (illus. 128 to 132) were 
mostly in groups of three or four, and they were 
perched on supports about a foot in height ; they 
were united by passages about six feet long and five 
feet high. The first time I entered one of these huts 
I was much astonished ; the voice echoed from the 
smooth inner walls, and a dim light penetrated from 
an opening in the roof, which also served as a chimney. 
In front of me stood a richly ornamented coffin-like 
structure, which I ascertained to be the householder's 
bed. At the foot of the bed was an opening com- 
municating with a small pipe ; a fire is lighted in it 
on cold nights in order to warm the bed. Bed- warmers 
in Central Africa ! 

The walls were richly ornamented, and the work, 
though irregular, had a distinct style of its own. I 
cannot imagine how these primitive Musgums can 
have learned to draw these designs, which I have 
never seen elsewhere. 

The Musgums inhabit the flooded country between 
the Shari and Logone Rivers, and these fruitful plains 
are densely populated. In spite of the southerly 
advance of Islam and Rabeh's invasions, the Mus- 
gums have preserved their own customs unchanged. 
At first they were timid and avoided Europeans, 
but during the last two years their relationships have 


become more friendly. As we approached their 
villages, we were surprised to see crowds of warriors 
hastening out to welcome us. They shouldered their 
spears and ran singing to meet us, in long rows, single 
file ; they surrounded us as we rode at the head of 
our caravan, and trotted beside us in small groups. 
The women, too, overcame their shyness, and bore 
down upon us uttering shrill yells of pleasure. 

The way in which the Musgum women distort their 
faces is remarkable. Like some of the South American 
Indians and a few negro tribes in East Africa, they 
introduce flat metal plates into their lips till they 
protrude like a beak. Even little girls wear pegs 
in their lips, which as they grow older are made 
larger and larger until they are the size of the palm 
of one's hand. This custom is terribly disfiguring, 
and in old women the lip often gives way, the 
torn edges hanging down on each side. As a 
result Musgum women are no longer bought as 
slaves at Dikoa, or at any of the Soudanese slave 

On the 20th of January we reached the town of 
Musgum, in which all the houses resemble bee-hives, 
and are built so close together that the streets are 
only wide enough to allow one man to pass at a time. 
Great was the astonishment of these children of nature 
when I went from house to house, sketching the 
interior and measuring the various contents. 

There are quantities of birds here, and at sunset 
flocks of pelicans, golden-crested cranes, ducks, geese, 
and ibises might be seen returning home to their nests. 
On the plains and by the rivers we saw herons and 
marabouts, so that on all sides there was twittering 
and fluttering. The pink pelicans were a beautiful 


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sight as they wended their way across the deep blue 

On the 22nd we set out on our return journey to 
Kusseri in two large and four small canoes. During 
the voyage we hoped to be able to shoot some grass 
antelopes (Adenota spec), which are here called 
pallahs. Four hours after we had started we noticed 
a letter from Roder fastened to a post on the bank. 
It was short and to the point : " Stop here, pallahs ! " 
We scrambled up the steep bank and caught sight 
of a herd grazing on a wide, grassy plain. So we all 
three took our guns, and set out to stalk them while 
our tents were being pitched. 

We were not successful, and the next morning 
we went further and soon came upon a large herd of 
pallahs. We landed, and this time we had better luck. 
The Duke shot six, Schmidt three, whilst I missed 
two, and wounded two more. After breakfast we con- 
tinued our journey until two o'clock. Then seeing 
hundreds of pallahs on both sides of the river, we 
landed once more. In these enormous prairies stalk- 
ing was very tiring, for the animals invariably scented 
us at three or four hundred yards, and took to flight. 

Two hours later we returned to the boats, and could 
do no more hunting as it was growing dark. The 
night was bitterly cold, the thermometer registering 
only 56°. 

As I had missed so many shots lately, my com- 
panions chaffed me a good deal, and one day the Duke 
undertook to give me a lesson in deer-stalking. I 
crept along behind him, imitating his every move- 
ment. Whenever an animal looked up we stood 
stock still, and as soon as it seemed satisfied and went 
on grazing, we ran on in a stooping posture. 


In this way we came within eighty yards of a 
powerful buck, and our two shots cracked out one 

after the other. I missed and so did the Duke ! 

The whole herd fled in a panic. 

We breakfasted hurriedly in Cholem, and then 
proceeded on our journey. We saw a great many 
ducks and geese, and in four shots the Duke and I 
secured twenty-four ducks for our men, so that they 
enjoyed a perfect orgy. At sunset we came to a 
broad sandbank which seemed to be a suitable 
camping ground, so we pitched our tents in this 
charming spot. The sole occupants of the bank 
were some Nile geese, and we politely took off our 
hats to them and begged them to take themselves 

It was high time for us to return to Kusseri, all 
our supplies being exhausted. Every day the boy 
announced our " last bottle," or our " last tin," and 
finally our " last loaf." Sugar had for some time 
been conspicuous by its absence. All that we had left 
was a quarter of a bottle of whisky, and half a tin 
of jam. Apart from this our menu consisted always 
of pallah and duck, duck and pallah. In spite of the 
fatigues of the tour, which had made us all thinner, 
we were in good health and as brown as Indians. 

We had just retired for the night when we heard two 
lions roaring quite near, but they evidently had more 
exciting business on hand than interfering with us, and 
the noise soon died away in the distance. The following 
day we rowed fully twelve hours, in order to arrive 
in Logone the same evening ; we did no more hunting, 
merely shooting a few ducks and geese from the boat. 
Our canoe became more and more leaky, until it be- 
came one man's business to bale incessantly in order 


to keep us afloat. Game became gradually less 
plentiful, and finally ceased altogether, while the 
vegetation seemed more luxuriant ; the trees grew 
down to the water's edge, and grey, long-tailed 
monkeys swung themselves from branch to branch. 

At sunset we reached Logone, which we found en- 
tirely deserted, the sultan having taken all the avail- 
able people to Kusseri. The next morning, as we 
were proceeding on our way, we suddenly perceived 
Professor Haberer's boat moored to the bank ; he 
was breakfasting comfortably ashore, and we promptly 
joined him. He confirmed the favourable report of 
Roder which we had already received at Logone by 
letter. Further on we shot three crocodiles, from 
which Professor Haberer immediately prepared blood 
films. Between Logone and Kusseri we counted 
sixty-six crocodiles sunning themselves on the sand- 
banks. All day a strong wind was blowing, and it 
was so cold that we sat in our overcoats. At Kusseri 
we met First Lieutenant von Duisburg who had come 
with Sultan Sanda from Dikoa for the Emperor's 
birthday celebrations. 

The Duke describes these festivities in his diary 
as follows : — 

" The ceremonies in honour of our Emperor's birth- 
day were unique in their magnificence, and the dis- 
play of flags was most impressive. No less than five 
important sultans, each with a large following of 
infantry and cavalry, had hastened to obey the 
Governor's summons to assist at the celebrations. 
Besides Sultan Mai-Buka, who resides in Kusseri, 
the following were present : Sultan Sanda of Dikoa, 
Sultan Mohammed of Logone, Sultan Djagara of 
Gulfei, and the representative of Omar, Sultan of Man- 


dara, who was prevented by illness from attending 
in person. We were awakened by a salute of three 
volleys from the machine guns crashing through the 
fresh morning air. 

" At nine o'clock all the warriors paraded on a wide 
space outside the town gates, which were decorated in 
honour of the occasion. Twelve thousand men, infantry 
and cavalry, were assembled in front of us, foot-soldiers 
and horsemen mingling in each group, for of course 
every sultan was surrounded by his own warriors. 
The Duke rode a magnificent white charger, richly 
caparisoned, and making a splendid picture. On our 
arrival we were greeted by an ear-splitting din, as all 
the riders rocked rhythmically to and fro in their saddles, 
shouting and yelling at the top of their voices. They 
welcomed us by brandishing aloft their spears and 
swords, rising in their stirrups, and cheering both 
us and their sultans. Rifles cracked, horses neighed, 
trumpets and bugles of enormous size sounded, whilst 
numerous drums and kettle-drums did their best to 
make themselves heard above the din. This noise 
continued unabated for a whole hour, while the 
soldiers marched past. Captain Facon, Commandant 
of Fort Lamy, with two French Sergeant-Majors, had; 
come over to join the festivities. 

" We were fourteen Europeans in all, and we took 
up our stand between two flag-staffs. On a platform 
to the left of us, Roder and Schmidt stood taking 
cinematograph photographs of the proceedings. All 
the warriors were dressed in gaudy colours : yellow, 
red, white, green, and blue, some striped or chequered, 
and some plain. Most of the horses were covered 1 
with long cloths which enveloped their entire bodie^ 
from their necks to their heels. 

26. The artist and Simba, the lioness. 

127. Travelling cage for the lioness. 




"At two o'clock we returned to camp. The festive 
board was spread under tents, and all the Europeans 
lunched together. The sultans had special tents to 
themselves. Several Frenchmen had come over from 
Fort Lamy, and were gladly welcomed by the Ger- 
mans, whose hospitality was often cordially recipro- 
cated on the other side of the river. Thanks to the 
tact and courtesy of the Governors, the relations 
between the two stations were of the friendliest. 

"The presentation of gifts was an important item 
in the programme of festivities. The sultans sent 
us three horses with full military equipment, as well 
as many other gifts such as saddles, rugs, swords, 
shields, spears, and all kinds of specimens of native 
industries, clothing and basket-work. With great 
ceremony we tended our presents in return in the 
town hall. Beautiful silks, European saddles, and 
threaded shell bridles were gladly accepted by these 
African rulers. They adorned their horses with the 
new bridles, and then, followed by men bearing on 
their heads the remainder of the presents, they rode 
out through the gateway in single file, as they had 
come. The crowd burst into frenzied cheering, and 
shouted themselves hoarse, their voices mingling 
with the deafening din of kettle-drums and 
bugles, the blare of trumpets, and the rattle of 

"The second day witnessed the most important 
function of the festivities, namely, the opening of the 
first local native exhibition. Lieutenant von Raben 
deserves great credit for the skilful manner in which 
he won over the sultans to help him in this under- 
taking. The exhibition presented a clear and con- 
vincing picture of the manners and customs, dress 


and occupations of all the various races and tribes 
inhabiting the German Tchad district. 

" The exhibition of horses and cattle, sheep, goats, 
and fowl was most instructive for the natives, and 
the Government officials carefully explained to them 
their reasons for organising the show. It evoked 
the admiration and surprise of the French visitors, 
whose efforts to bring about a similar result had so 
far always met with failure. May the exhibition 
bear the good fruit that it assuredly deserves ! 

"The afternoon was spent in watching displays of 
skill by the archers and spearmen, and a boat-race, 
for which the first prize was a donkey. 

" The morning of the third day was set apart for 
races ; the programme was a comprehensive one 
and included six horse races, a donkey race, and three 
camel races. The horse races were run over a wind- 
ing course, and provided excellent sport ; the delight 
with which this nation of riders viewed the proceed- 
ings was plainly written on their faces. 

' 'The donkey races provoked much laughter, still 
more the camel races. The camels evidently did 
not understand the object of what appeared to them 
merely an unnecessary exertion ; with open mouths 
and glassy eyes they stared round at their riders, and 
in the middle of the most thrilling final race, they 
lay peacefully down, and paid no further attention 
to the proceedings. The result was indescribable ; 
the spectators roared and screamed with delight. 
Fortunately our cinematograph successfully recorded 
this scene. 

" During the afternoon we watched various games, i 
paid brief visits to the sultans, and assisted at the 
displays of horsemanship by the men of Dikoa, in 

129. Musgum houses. 

130. Earthenware corn store of the Musgum. 





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which Sultan Sanda himself took part. We could 
not restrain a cheer when the Sultan, in a gorgeous 
blue burnouse mounted on a richly caparisoned horse, 
rode up at full gallop, surrounded by his men. The 
riders saluted with their spears, the spectators shouted 
their applause, and the rest of the horsemen rose in 
their saddles and added to the deafening noise by 
every means in their power. 

" The crowds returned the following day to their 
homes, and soon all signs of this splendid pageant 
had disappeared. Everybody, European and native 
alike, carried away a pleasant and lasting recollection 
of the Emperor's birthday festivities in 1911." 

The succeeding days were for the most part unevent- 
ful. We despatched the arrears of our correspondence, 
while Roder and Schmidt busied themselves all day 
packing our numerous ethnological and zoological 
specimens for transmission to Germany. 

One day I set to work to make a water-colour sketch 
of a typical Bornu horse : a dark bay stallion with 
a good deal of Arab blood. The animal was so un- 
ruly and nervous that it took two men to hold its 
head, whilst a third patted and soothed it. The 
horses to which I was accustomed as models when 
I was Paul Meyerheim's pupil were far more accom- 
modating. But they had not in their veins the noble 
blood that made the earth burn beneath the fiery 
hoofs of this Bornu stallion. 

We arranged a steamboat excursion for the benefit 
of the sultans, who had never been on board one be- 
fore. The Frenchmen of Fort Lamy very kindly 
lent us the little " Leon Blott " for the occasion. 
Crowds of natives lined the banks as their rulers set 
foot, with secret misgivings but unmoved counten- 


ances, upon this " devilish contrivance." When the 
vessel began to move, it was most amusing to watch 
the faces of our guests. Sanda of Dikoa wanted to 
investigate everything, and laughed with delighted 
surprise ; Mohammed of Logone clapped his hands, 
at the same time slowly shaking his head. Little 
Mai-Buka of Kusseri was enjoying himself thoroughly ; 
he wished to buy the steamer on the spot, and en- 
quired whether it had two or four legs. When the 
Duke shot a crocodile, and it remained motionless on 
the sand-bank, they all applauded enthusiastically. 

The next morning the Duke, Professor Haberer, 
Dr Trepper, and I rode out to inspect Rabeh's battle- 
field, two and a half miles from Kusseri. The Duke 
rode the black horse given him by Sanda of Dikoa ; 
it was a handsome stallion with easy paces. A number 
of bones, cartridges cases, and bullets still mark the 
scene of Rabeh's defeat, where he and Colonel Lamy 
and Captain Cointenet met their death. The Duke 
wrote a short account of what we had seen, and sent 
it to Baron Max von Oppenheim, who has published 
a book about Rabeh. 

In the afternoon we took the collapsible boat and 
shot four crocodiles on the sand-banks. One of them 
displayed remarkable activity after he had been killed ; 
he lay for two hours in the boat, then suddenly in an 
unguarded moment, hove himself overboard and 
splashed into the river. 

It was now time to pack up our possessions, for 
on the 8th of February the Duke intended to set out 
towards Lake Tchad and Bagirmi, accompanied by 
Haberer and Schmidt. Sergeant-Major Roder and 
I were to proceed to the southern shore of the Lake, 
and travel thence through Bornu. In the evening 


I sent on our horses to Gulfei, which is situated on 
the Shari, beyond Kusseri. We were all going so 
far together in the steamer " Leon Blott," and Gulfei 
was to be the parting of the ways. 

The days sped swiftly by ; I busied myself chiefly 
in making portraits of natives of the Kanuri tribe. 

At dawn on the 8th of February the little " Leon 
Blott " rode at her anchor in front of the station. 
By 9.30 all our baggage was stowed away on board, 
and then followed the embarkation of our menagerie. 
Most of the animals travelled loose, so that this was 
no easy task, and there was much scuffling and braw- 
ling. The lioness Simba, my Bomu dog Omar, and 
a young serval called Lucy, teased one another con- 
tinually. Omar was a very well - bred dog, whose 
left fore-foot was missing from birth. But his 
wonderful intelligence compensated for this physical 
defect, and earned him universal respect. Even the 
lioness, who had grown into a fine girl, acknowledged 
the authority of Omar, who was quite her equal in 

Once more we took leave of our Kusseri friends, 
who had so often and so kindly helped us in our work ; 
once more we shouted to them : " Au re voir in Ger- 
many ! " Our siren hooted thrice as a last farewell, 
and we were off. 

The next day we parted company ; the Duke, 
Haberer, and Schmidt proceeded in the " Leon Blott " 
towards Lake Tchad (vide Chapter IV.), whilst Roder 
and I set out to try and reach the open water by 
forcing our way through the papyrus thicket which 
fringes the southern shore of the lake. Then we pro- 
posed to travel via Wulgo and Ngala to Dikoa, and 
thence after skirting the Mandara Mountains, through 


Mora to Mama. We hoped to reach Garua towards 
the middle of June, and there join forces once more 
with the Duke, Haberer, and Schmidt. For the pre- 
sent, we proposed to remain a few days longer in Gulfei. 

The sultan sent us two half-grown hyena-dogs 
(Lycaon pictus), chained up like wild beasts. I was 
very glad of this addition to our " zoo," for I had 
never heard of these wild dogs of Bornu. They were 
lively beasts, nervous rather than dangerous. Roder 
went hunting, and added several specimens to our 
collection of wild animals. The Shari seems to form 
a zoological boundary between Bagirmi and Bornu. 
No giraffes were to be found here, but on the opposite 
bank they were said to be very numerous. 

Every morning Djagara sat to me for his portrait, 
which, however, vanished into space before I left Gulfei, 
and has never been seen again. No doubt the sultan 
himself ordered it to be stolen from me. 

As I sat absorbed in my painting, a strange figure 
suddenly appeared upon the scene, and began to 
praise me as a hero, the greatest hero on whom the 
sun had ever shone in Bornu. I realised that the 
rascal was making a bid for the contents of my purse ! 
When he found that it still remained closed to him, 
he proceeded to administer a stronger dose of flattery. 
He threw himself at my feet on the sand, which he 
scattered over his bald pate, praising me all the time, 
and comparing me to a camel, a large camel, a lion, 
and an elephant. Allah and I were partners, and 
could accomplish anything. I did not feel greatly 
flattered, but at last I gave the poor devil sixpence 
and an empty cartridge case. He departed quite 

During the night I was roughly awakened. I was 


sleeping in one of the mud huts that had been allotted 
to us ; the lioness and my dog Omar slept together 
in the next room, and the hyena- dogs had been tied 
up immediately opposite. The boys slept among 
the baggage. Suddenly I heard Omar barking and 
howling, and the boys shouting and scolding. I 
sprang out of bed, and rushed out to see what was 
the matter. The moon made the camp as light as 
day. Omar came limping up to me, whilst the lioness 
licked her blood-stained jaws, and the little serval 
lay torn and bleeding in the middle of the yard. The 
hyena dogs, too, had been hurt, but less severely. No 
one could tell what had happened, but presently I 
ascertained that some half - savage village curs had 
penetrated the camp, with intent to steal. They had 
come across the little tame serval, who used to wander 
about at night loose. He was hurt in the skirmish, 
and then the intruders came upon the lioness who 
was sleeping peacefully with Omar. Simba naturally 
resented being disturbed, and in true lioness fashion, 
boxed their ears and bit them savagely. The curs 
beat a hasty retreat, but on the way they met the 
hyena-dogs, who in consequence bore signs of a conflict. 
The following night I sat up in the brilliant moon- 
light, waiting for the enemy, but in vain. I would 
gladly have killed one of the dogs, for this impudent 
attack was the crowning point of their audacity. Not 
only did they wander round the camp night after 
night, stealing anything they could lay paws on, but 
they howled for hours close to the windows, and re- 
fused to go away, even when the boys threw stones 
at them. They were clever and crafty, and many 
a well-bred dog at home has not half the intelligence 
of these semi-wild Bornu village curs. 


On the 14th of February we set off at 6.30 a.m. 
Djagara had provided a hundred and twenty bearers, 
and two guides, besides a few foot-soldiers belonging to 
his bodyguard to look after the bearers. In this way our 
own soldiers were set free to help in preserving skins 
and stuffing birds. 

At noon we reached the little village Gulfei-Gana, 
and pitched our tents. Roder took photographs 
while I sketched. The next morning we started at 
7.30, and travelled all day through the dense thorn 
bush, which entirely shut out the view. In fact, Roder 
and I were almost knocked down by a flying herd of 
pallahs as we rode at the head of the caravan. Here 
in the bush we saw flocks of tame ostriches, belong- 
ing to Shoa Arabs, and in charge of boys, who anxiously 
drove their birds into the bush as we approached. 

It was intensely hot, and we were glad to rest at 
the village of Buboma, which we reached at half past 
one. In the afternoon I went hunting, and shot a 
ducker and a hare. The latter animal bears a close 
resemblance to his European brother, but is a little 

As I was crawling through the bush, I suddenly 
caught sight of two golden-crested cranes perched 
on the dry branches of an acacia tree, about ten yards 
away, and forming a beautiful picture against the 
vivid blue background of sky. I could not make up 
my mind to shoot them, but my attitude was quite 
incomprehensible to the soldier who accompanied 
me, and whose one idea in life was to gorge himself 
with food. 

On the 17th we reached the ruined village of Shoe, 
on the Shari. A few years ago the chief of this vil- 
lage conspired against Djagara of Gulfei, and endea- 


voured to usurp his throne. He was unsuccessful, 
for Djagara heard of his plans, and the chief was 
forced to fly to the other side of the Shari, where he 
was received with open arms by the French. One 
after another his subjects followed suit, until only 
about fifty men remained faithful to Djagara, and these 
to-day are the sole inhabitants of Shoe. 

Far away in the distance, on the opposite bank 
of the Shari, there is a high, steep mountain, rising 
in solitary grandeur from the wide plain. The 
Kanuris say that Noah landed there after the flood. 
I sat down on a little mound near my tent, and began 
to paint. Suddenly I felt a gentle tap on my sun 
helmet. I looked up in astonishment, but no one 
was to be seen. Then I noticed a kite immediately 
overhead, which was on the point of swooping down 
once more on my helmet. I was amazed at its im- 
pudence ; I had certainly often seen these begging 
parasites flying round the cook's fire, on the look- 
out for a piece of meat, and I had seen them steal 
fish from the basket of a native, but I had never 
supposed that a kite would have the audacity to try 
and take my helmet off my very head ! I laughed 
as I called to mind instances of similar thefts related 
to me by travellers with regard to this African bird 
of prey. A parasite kite (surely never was name 
more appropriate) once stole a mutton cutlet from 
the dish, just as it was being handed to a friend of 
mine by his boy. 

The harmattan, which is a sand - storm blowing 
from the Sahara, continued the whole of the follow- 
ing day. In the afternoon of the 20th the " Leon 
Blott," with the Duke, Haberer, and Schmidt on 
board, steamed up the Shari, and anchored opposite 


our camp. They had come back sooner than they 
had expected, and in the evening the Duke and Pro- 
fessor Haberer joined us at supper. They were greatly 
surprised to find us still here, for they had supposed 
that we had long ago reached Wulgo. 

Early the following morning three shrill blasts 
from the " Leon Blott's " siren informed us that she 
was on her way to Fort Lamy. The next day we, too, 
broke camp at 6 a.m., and reached the Molo, a small 
tributary of the Shari, at half past eight. The bearers 
forded the shallow stream on foot, and we rode through 
it. In climbing up the further bank, my horse slipped 
and fell backwards into the water. In a moment 
I was out of the saddle, or I might have come to serious 
grief ; as it was I escaped with a wetting. On the 
bare branches of an acacia I spied a vulture which 
was new to me, so leaving Roder to ride on with the 
caravan, I dismounted and shot it. It proved to be 
a woolly-headed vulture (Lophogyps occipitalis), of 
which it was the first specimen in my collection of 
birds of prey. 

The freed slave Atangana had remained behind 
with me, and we mounted and rode after the caravan. 
We ought to have rejoined it within a quarter of an 
hour, but half an hour elapsed and still there was no 
sign of it. An hour later we passed through a Shoa 
village, whose inhabitants assured us that no caravan 
had passed that way. Evidently we had lost our- 
selves, which was all the more unpleasant because I 
had absolutely nothing with me. My flask had been 
emptied some time ago, and I had no notion in which 
direction Roder and the bearers were marching. 

The Shoas told us that in another hour we should 
reach a large village called Makari, so we went on 


133. Old Musgum chief. 


134. The Sultan of the Maffate. 



with the faint hope of finding Roder there. It was 
now noon, and the scorching sun blazed down piti- 
lessly on the bare, treeless plain, covered with dry, 
yellow grass. Now and then we caught sight of a 
gazelle, but I was in no mood for hunting ; my tongue 
clove to the roof of my mouth, and my one desire 
was to reach camp. My good black horse was still 
comparatively fresh, and so was Atangana's chest- 
nut, so we rode along at a good pace, and at last 
reached a town. The sultan sent word that he was 
surprised to see me, as he had been told to expect 
two white men, but not until three days later. Then 
I knew that we must be in Mafate. But where in the 
world was Roder ? 

The only thing to do was to off saddle and rest. 
The sultan of Mafate, a good-natured old man 
(illus. 134), invited me into his house, a large, well- 
kept mud building. Thankful to be at last in a cool 
room, I threw myself down on a mud erection, which 
was probably the throne. I could hardly believe 
my eyes when the sultan entered bearing a nickel 
tray, on which stood two nickel cups, containing a 
sweet home-brewed liqueur. It was kindly meant 
so I gulped it down, though it was not very tempting. 
It was followed by some beautiful new milk, which 
I drank to the last drop. 

We held a consultation, and I learned that the only 
large village where Roder could have encamped was 
Makari 25 to 30 miles away. It was now a quarter 
past three, the horses had had three hours' rest, and 
I decided to risk the journey. It was essential for me 
to reach camp before dark, for I had eaten nothing 
since 6 a.m. and I had no bed or mosquito net, 
without which a night in Africa is not a pleasant 


experience. My guide, a well-bred Fullah, rode a white 
horse which raced through the bush as if the devil 
were at his heels. Our horses, too, went like the wind, 
so that we could scarcely hold them. Suddenly the 
guide's saddle slipped, the girth having given way, 
so we pulled up while he adjusted it. My black horse 
and Atangana's chestnut at once started fighting, 
biting and kicking each other furiously. We slid 
out of our saddles in order to escape injury, and as 
soon as they found themselves free the animals fought 
more savagely than ever. Anyone who has ever 
seen a couple of horses fighting knows how difficult 
and dangerous it is to separate them. However 
we succeeded at last, and continued our ride, alter- 
nately trotting and galloping. 

It was six o'clock when at last we caught sight of 
the tents gleaming through the bush, with the red, 
white, and black flag fluttering in the breeze. I was 
thankful to get into bed, for I had been nine hours 
in the saddle. 

The following morning at half past seven we set 
off, and reached the village of Mada at half past nine. 
We spent the afternoon in hunting. 

The next day we arrived at Mafate, where I had 
been two days previously. The old chief, who calls 
himself a sultan, rode out to meet us followed by the 
usual noisy crowd. We pitched our tents, stabled 
our horses, and fed our various animals. The hyena 
dogs were always ravenous ; although they were 
given plenty of food, they gobbled whatever was 
thrown to them in frantic haste as if they were 
starving. So long as we were in a country where 
game was plentiful, it was an easy matter to feed 
our animals, and if we happened not to have shot 


anything, we bought a goat or a sheep and killed it. 
At night the hyenas howled round the camp, and 
the hyena-dogs struggled to break loose. 

Though I was anxious to reach Lake Tchad as soon 
as possible, I remained a few days in Mafate, paint- 
ing portraits and landscapes. My models often 
roused my wrath, for they were not used to sitting 
still, and promptly fell asleep. They could not 
understand why I took so much trouble, but a 
present at the close of the sitting sent them away 
in a good temper. 

The fact that my lioness ran about loose created 
great astonishment and distrust until the people 
assured themselves that she was quite harmless. Of 
course she was never quite unattended ; a boy 
always kept an eye upon her, as she had now reached 
an age when she might have done much mischief. 
When we brought in big game, she was never far off 
until a bone had been thrown to her, and if the men 
who were removing the skin came too near her, she 
showed her resentment by growling and snarling 
with her lips drawn back over her teeth. As a pre- 
cautionary measure, I used to chain her up at night. 
It was amusing to see the great respect in which Simba 
was held by the village curs. Often as she lay asleep 
during the heat of the day, in some shady corner, the 
dogs would slink up to beg or steal, but they fled with 
their tails between their legs, trembling in every limb, 
the moment she appeared upon the scene. I often 
laughed as I watched them. Unfortunately one of 
the hyena- dogs fell ill, and had to be shot. There 
were a great many " wart hogs " in the neighbourhood 
of Mafate, and as they are very good to eat, they 
found a place on our dinner-table nearly every day. 


On the 1st of March at 7.30 a.m. we left Mafate, 
and marched to Sagumi, a village on the lake. The 
road led through endless plains ; not a tree, not even 
a bush was to be seen, nothing but the short, green 
grass receding in the distance as far as the eye could 
see. We pitched our camp under a solitary thorn 
tree growing in the midst of the village. Sagumi 
is a fairly large village, and like Dego is inhabited by 
Shoa Arabs. Formerly it was the home of pro- 
fessional elephant hunters, but since all the elephants 
have migrated into the adjoining English territory, 
the people of Sagumi have given up hunting them, 
and have taken to agriculture and cattle rearing 

I had now reached the shores of Lake Tchad, and 
it gratified me to remember that we had penetrated 
to the very heart of Africa, where so few travellers 
have ever ventured before. 



The swamps lying between Sagumi and the lake pre- 
vented our proceeding any further in this direction, 
so we turned our steps southward as far as Sehram, 
where we crossed the Kalia River and finally reached 
Wulgo, on the further bank. 

The Kalia is a small stream which flows into Lake 
Tchad, and now in the dry season was about 65 feet 
in width, and 13 feet deep. Our caravan halted on 
the bank, and five to eight men at a time, with their 
loads, were conveyed across in large native boats. 
The current was so swift that a rope had to be fastened 
to each bank for the boatmen to catch hold of. 

We camped in the large village of Wulgo, and made 
up our minds to try and float down the Kalia to the 
lake in rafts. As long as the Kalia was sufficiently 
wide, we floated merrily along. At a bend in the river 
we came upon a hippopotamus mother with her little 
! ones ; the moment she caught sight of us she sought 
safety in flight. Several snake-neck birds (darters) 
; swam in front of us fishing, and at our approach either 
flew away or dived under water. It was very in- 
teresting to watch these birds dipping in and out of 
the river, chasing the small fish that leapt into the 
air, and fell in dozens on to our raft. 

The Kalia divided up into several branches, and 
gradually became narrower, whilst the papyrus grew 

vl 145 


ever more dense. We still hoped to get through to 
the lake on our narrow raft, but we were doomed 
to disappointment, for the river ended in a wide 
impassable swamp full of papyrus. We took some 
photographs (illus. 140) and then returned discon- 
solate to camp. It was noon by the time we mounted 
our horses, which had been brought three quarters 
of the way to meet us, and we soon reached Wulgo 
(illus. 139), where a market was in progress. Hun- 
dreds of men of various races offered their wares for 
sale. Kanuris and Kotokos stood side by side with 
Haussas and Fullahs, Shoas, and natives of Tripoli. 
All this turmoil frightened my horse, so that he very 
nearly bolted with me into the midst of the noisy 
crowd, who prepared to snatch up their wares and 

The history of the ancient kingdom of Bornu dates 
back to the twelfth century. At that time it was 
the most southerly province of the vast kingdom 
of Kanem, which was bounded on the North by 
Fezzan, on the East by the Nile, and on the South 
by the district now known as Dikoa. For many 
centuries Bornu was the scene of continual wars and 
insurrections, and its prosperity received its death- 
blow with Rabeh's invasion. Coming from the East 
in 1892, the latter rapidly laid waste the flourishing 
countries on both sides of the river. 

It was Rabeh who restored the ancient town of 
Dikoa, making it his headquarters ; its population 
grew to over 100,000, and it eclipsed all the towns 
from the Senegal to the Nile. During the years 1893 
and 1894 the Tchad district was divided between 
the three great colonising powers : England, France, 
and Germany. The French extended their out- 

136. A corner in Gulfei. 

137. Kotoko house in Gulfei with washhouse and kitchen. 

138. Borroro. 



a Wrt 







139. Bornu house in Vulgo. 


posts to the Shari, and soon came to a conflict with 
Rabeh. On the 3rd of March 1900 they took Kusseri, 
and on the 22nd of April a decisive battle was fought 
in which Rabeh was killed, and his head brought into 
the French camp. 

Of all the great African lakes, Lake Tchad was the 
first to be discovered, and for centuries its shores 
were the commercial centre for the two chief wares : 
ivory and human flesh. 

A four hours' march through wooded plains (illus. 
141) brought us to Ngala. The chief, a perfect giant, 
welcomed us and lodged us in a large court-yard sur- 
rounded by a high mud wall, enclosing some clean 
huts for the accommodation of the bearers. 

The present inhabitants of Ngala are said to be the 
descendants of a race of giants. In proof of this as- 
sertion we were shown some enormous jugs, standing 
in the open spaces of the town. They were of baked 
clay, and were quite devoid of ornamentation. When 
I suggested that the people might make similar house- 
hold utensils for their own use, they shook their heads, 
and laughed at the very idea. 

I was told that their ancestors had carried one of 
these huge jugs full of water in each hand, but the 
legend did not explain where these giants lived. I 
should have liked to have added one of the jugs to 
our collection, but the difficulty of transport would 
have been too great, so I contented myself with 
measuring it and making drawings. 

The inhabitants of Ngala are mostly Shoa-Arabs. 
In the evening both men and women assembled to 
dance, and we watched their evolutions with interest. 

On the 16th of March we started on the march to 
Dikoa. We set out at 6 a.m. but the heat was so 


great that at nine o'clock we halted at a small village 
two hours from Dikoa. Although it was still early, 
the thermometer registered 106° F. in the shade. Our 
eyes burned, and the ground danced and shimmered 
in the scorching heat. We spent the rest of the day 
resting in some mud huts which the natives vacated 
for our use. These mud huts have the advantage 
of being delightfully cool in the day time, when the 
interior of a tent is unbearable. At night, on the 
other hand, we slept peacefully in our comparatively 
cool tents, but found it impossible to remain in the 
huts whose walls reflected all the heat which they 
had absorbed during the day. 

Very early the next morning we rode into Dikoa, 
and were met by Lieutenant von Duisburg, who came 
to welcome us to his station. Roder and I rode on 
ahead with him, leaving the rest of the caravan to 
follow, and soon we were in Rabeh's old palace, which 
is the present Government House. (Illus. 142.) We 
were glad of a rest, for Roder and I were quite over- 
powered by the heat of the last few days. During 
the afternoon the sultan paid us a visit, and brought 
us a present of three sheep, twenty hens, eggs, bread, 
and honey. It happened to be my birthday, and I 
was much amused by these typical African gifts. I 
opened a case containing silks, and the great man 
went away greatly pleased. 

The following morning we explored the town, and 
were surprised to find such large, two-storied, stone 

Dikoa owes all its splendour to Rabeh. In olden 
times it was an insignificant Kanuri village, whose 
inhabitants travelled to Kuka when they wished to 
enjoy the pleasures of a town. Then came Rabeh 


5 1 

C hi 
o > 


.2 £ 




from the East, weary of righting and wandering; he 
founded a kingdom and made Dikoa his capital. He 
built a palace for himself, and reviewed his troops every 
Friday in the wide square. But now this is all a thing 
of the past. The fine buildings are still there, and 
the cannons on either side of the gateway, but the red, 
white, and black flag flutters on the flag- staff, a,nd 
Lieutenant von Duisburg resides in Rabeh's palace. 

Opposite Government House stands the mosque, a 
very primitive building, which I can describe only as 
a little square mud box, open at each end, and with 
a few holes for windows. Solid mud pillars support 
the roof, and between them, in the semi- darkness, men 
kneel and say their prayers. (Vide coloured plate.) 

To the left of the mosque is the sultan's palace, 
which like those I had seen in Gulfei and Karnak, 
consists of a labyrinth of courtyards, passages, and 
apartments. The sultan enjoys playing the part 
of Rabeh, whose manners and customs he imitates 
as far as possible. 

The inhabitants of Dikoa comprise representatives 
of all the various races in the Tchad district. The 
majority are Kanuris, Shoa-Arabs, Haussas, and 
Fullahs, who all have their own separate quarters 
in the town, but who have also to a certain extent 
intermingled. Natives of all the Mohammedan 
countries in Africa came here with Rabeh, and re- 
presentatives of all the heathen races were brought 
to the Tchad district during the centuries when the 
slave-trade flourished. The purest types are to be 
found among the Fullahs and Shoa-Arabs. 

The Kanuris form the most important element in 
the population of German Bornu ; they are the ruling 
race, and inhabit the largest districts. 


We suffered greatly from the heat, for in Bornu 
March and April are the hottest months in the year, 
and November, December, and January the coolest. 
Towards the end of April the rainy season sets in, 
and lasts until the beginning of October. Bornu, 
with an average temperature of 85° F. is one of the 
hottest places in the world. Duisburg used to sleep 
on the flat roof of his house, and Roder and I had 
our beds carried on to the verandah, or into the court- 
yard. From morning till night the sun poured down 
relentlessly, and the earth shimmered with the heat, 
reflecting it into the atmosphere, so that we were 
obliged to work in- doors as much as possible. 

I found many interesting subjects to paint, and 
the various races supplied me with plenty of models. 
Everything in the neighbourhood is so intensely in- 
teresting that a painter might well spend a lifetime 
studying and working here. I purposely emphasise 
the word study, because all the delicate tints, the 
various types of faces, the ever-changing expressions 
of both Moslems and negroes call for careful and 
painstaking study. 

In the evening we often went for rides in the neigh- 
bourhood. My black was a perfect saddle horse, 
but Roder's chestnut possessed every vice imaginable. 
It had a very hard mouth, and used to buck on every 
possible occasion. Roder had constant trouble with 
the animal, and I often nearly fell out of my saddle 
with laughter as I watched him battling with his ill- 
tempered chestnut. It is always so easy to see the 
funny side of other people's troubles. I remember 
one day when we were riding together, Roder suddenly 
vanished from my side. The earth could not have 
swallowed him, for there were no holes or ditches to 

Fullah beauty in Dikoa 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims 


be seen. After looking everywhere, I at last dis- 
covered Roder and his horse on the roof of a Kanuri 

We broke into a canter, and the chestnut who was 
a very fast horse, tore wildly along, regardless of trees 
or huts, lakes or rocks. This habit of his was a great 
nuisance, but he was so strong and tireless that we 
could not afford to part with him. In the hard, stony 
Bornu country a horse that does not go lame in two 
or three hours is a valuable possession. My horse 
was coal black, with a white forehead and white feet ; 
he was a handsome animal, with a good deal of Arab 
blood. He had as much staying power as the chest- 
nut, but was faster and had a beautiful easy gallop. 
He was more docile because he had not been used 
for the barbarous riding games of the country. The 
inhabitants of Bornu are looked upon as being born 
riders, but they have no idea of sparing their horses, 
or of helping them in any way. They always ride 
either at a foot's pace or at full gallop, up hill and 
down dale, as if they were on a machine. 

This accounts for their barbarous riding and cruel 
bits. The curb bit consists of an iron ring pushed 
over the animal's tongue and lower jaw. The lightest 
touch on the reins is painful, and a heavy pressure 
causes the ring and curb chain to cut deeply into the 
tongue. Any one who has witnessed their games 
realises what the bleeding mouths of the horses must 
suffer. Another senseless custom is that of tethering 
the horses. The fore-foot is hobbled to the hind- 
foot with a rope which permits only a limping gait 
as they graze in the fields or are led to drink. Ob- 
viously this ill-treatment from their earliest youth 
must ruin even good-tempered horses, and it is not 


to be wondered at that when they are let loose, they 
behave like wild beasts. The cavalry games are 
certainly very picturesque, but they constitute great 
cruelty to animals. The horses are whipped and 
spurred to a furious gallop and then suddenly dragged 
back on to their haunches, so that their hind-feet 
slide many yards along the ground. 

Our lioness still enjoyed full liberty, and was a great 
source of pleasure to us. She was feeling somewhat 
lonely, for her faithful playmate Omar, my Bornu 
dog, was dead. He contracted mange, and as I was 
afraid it might spread to the other animals, I had 
to have him shot. This was the animal that was 
born with only three legs. 

On the 24th of March von Duisburg was suddenly 
ordered to march with his soldiers to Mora, near the 
Mandara Mountains, and von Raben was also on his 
way thither from Kusseri. Mai- Omar, the sultan 
of Mandara, had been encroaching, and was to be 
deposed. What the attitude of his people would be 
remained to be seen. Instead of employing bearers, 
von Duisburg carried all his baggage on camels ; this 
made him independent, and enabled him to cover a 
greater distance each day. Roder and I accompanied 
him for a short distance, and then returned to Dikoa 
to finish our work there. My portfolios were grow- 
ing thicker, and were full of portraits, and studies 
of dress, weapons, animals, and landscapes. 

On the 28th the harmattan blew all day. Coming 
from the Sahara, and driving the sand before it, it 
darkened the sky, and completely shut out the sun- 
light. It had an indescribable effect on the land- 
scape, which I attempted to reproduce on paper. 
But I was forced to give it up, for the sand got into 



* , « — f , ^^,M"9wt2*- , i"***^lfer*l i -^** ,,- 'l?™ 


* ... ' mi 

k. ■ ^^^Wi Hi 


142. Courtyard of the station at Dikoa. 

143. Tripolitans in Dikoa. 


my eyes, and into my paints, so that it was impos- 
sible to continue. Roder worked early and late, 
with the help of one or two interpreters, recording 
interesting data regarding Islam in Bornu. On the 
5th of April we were sitting in the garden listening 
to our gramophone, when a rider brought the news 
that Mai-Omar had been deposed, and that no serious 
resistance had been offered. So we might expect 
von Raben and von Duisburg to return shortly. Two 
days later Roder and I both fell ill with ptomaine 
poisoning, and for a few days were quite " hors de 
combat." However, we recovered sufficiently to be 
able to ride out to meet von Raben on his return with 
his troops. We were glad to get letters from home, 
but unfortunately they brought to Roder the sad 
news of his mother's death, which had taken place 
six months previously. The following morning von 
Raben started at four o'clock on the march to Kusseri 
where Mai- Omar was to spend the rest of his life in 
exile. I caught a glimpse of this sultan of whose 
cruel deeds I had often heard, a figure completely 
wrapped in a burnouse, dismounting on his arrival 
in Dikoa. 

It was time for us to be leaving, and to be travel- 
ling south. Lieutenant von Duisburg requested 
Sultan Sanda to provide bearers for us, and punc- 
tually on the afternoon of the 12th they assembled 
at the starting place. We packed hurriedly, for as 
there was a full moon, we had decided to march by 
night. At 5 p.m. everything was at length ready ; 
the bearers took up their loads, and set off. An hour 
later Roder and I mounted our horses and followed, 
accompanied for a short distance by von Duisburg. 
Then we shook hands once more, promising to meet 


again some day in Germany ; the lieutenant turned 
his horse's head in the direction of Dikoa, and we 
galloped after the caravan. We had scarcely ridden 
more than a quarter of an hour when heavy black 
clouds began to obscure the moonlight, and the wind 
howled over the plain, enveloping us in swirling 
columns of dust. 

The last glimmer of light had disappeared, and 
total darkness reigned when at last we overtook the 
caravan. Drops of rain were beginning to fall, and 
presently a tornado, ushering in the rainy season, 
swooped down upon our devoted heads. The caravan 
hurried on through the darkness, seeking some shelter 
from the wind, which had now become a hurricane, 
so that the bearers could scarcely keep hold of their 
loads. Vivid flashes of lightning illumined the scene at 
intervals, the rest of the time it was so dark that we 
could not distinguish our own hands, and the howl- 
ing wind and splashing rain rendered conversation 
impossible. We dismounted and stumbled along, 
soaked to the skin, ignorant of our whereabouts, but 
hoping to come upon some village where we could 
find shelter for the night. The ground was- uneven 
and full of holes into which one or other of the bearers 
was continually falling. I hung on to the crupper 
of my faithful horse, and thus managed to keep on 
my legs. Suddenly we were relieved to hear dogs 
barking in the distance, for this seemed to indicate 
the proximity of a village. The rain still poured 
down in sheets, and all at once we distinguished the 
dim outlines of huts and walls. We shouted, but 
there was no reply, for the village was deserted. As) 
Roder and I stood in consultation, suddenly in the : 
middle of the caravan we heard the sound of a heavy 


blow, a loud cry, and then some one falling heavily. 
We did not need to be told what had happened: 
it was the chestnut lashing out with his heels. As 
I was trying to strike my soaked matches, a red 
glare blazed up and illumined the scene : some- 
body had set fire to a thorn hedge, and it burned 
fiercely notwithstanding the rain. One of the soldiers 
lay stunned on the ground. In the darkness he had 
come too near the vicious chestnut, which had 
promptly kicked out, knocking the man senseless. 
Fortunately my fear that his ribs were fractured 
proved groundless, the force of the blow having been 
broken by the butt of his rifle. This again had re- 
coiled against his knee-cap, throwing him to the 
ground. His knee-cap was intact, but he was bleed- 
ing freely from a wound in the forehead. 

I felt very much inclined to shoot the horse on the 
spot, but just then a villager appeared, and under- 
took to guide us to the next village. So we toiled 
on over the howling wilderness. The moon appeared 
at first fitfully, but after a time the clouds dispersed, 
and she shone forth in all her beauty. The rain 
ceased, but the wind did not drop. We ran shivering 
beside our horses, beating our arms across our chests 
in order to restore the circulation. 

At last we reached the village of Djimbaka, but 
to our disappointment found it empty like the first, 
the inhabitants being in the bush. However, we 
pitched our camp, and were soon drying our soaking 
clothes at a roaring fire. We had brought enough 
provisions from Dikoa to last several days, so that 
we were more or less independent of the villagers. 
Before retiring we had another difference of opinion 
with the chestnut, which that night seemed possessed 


with a devil. The next day was Sunday, and the 
Easter bells were no doubt pealing at home. On the 
17th of April at half past seven in the morning we 
reached Bana. We had scarcely time to pitch our 
tents before another tornado burst upon us, and in 
a few minutes the whole camp was under water. Our 
lioness was playing about, romping with both men 
and animals to our great amusement. Suddenly she 
lost her temper owing to the soaking state of her coat, 
and she raged around like a lunatic. Before I could 
stop her, she made a mighty spring on to my tent, 
and broke the pole with her weight. After tearing 
about for some time, she gradually quieted down. 

On the 21st of April we saw on the horizon the blue 
outline of the Mandara Mountains. A kind of thrush 
was singing in a thorn bush, its song bearing some 
resemblance to that of our blackbird. 

At Kolofata, one day's march from Mora, we were 
met by a troop of horsemen sent out by the sultan 
to welcome us, and bearing gifts of eggs, honey, and 
huge baskets of dates. A few timid natives approached 
us from the mountains and begged us not to visit their 
villages, as in that case their wives and children would 
certainly throw themselves over a precipice. I 
laughed and slapped them on the back, saying : 
" My good duffers, we are not as dangerous as all 
that ! " But I firmly believe that if we had found 
time to pay them a visit, they would either have run 
away, or else they would have received us with a 
shower of poisoned arrows. 

The following day a five hours' ride brought us to 
Mora. According to the custom of the country, the 
young sultan rode in state to meet us, for we were 
the first white men to claim his hospitality. Mora 


144. Market superintendent in Dikoa. 





145. Bornu hunter in Dikoa. 


is a fairly large town, and lies at the foot of the Man- 
dara Mountains in a gorge open only towards the north- 
west. The mountains are inhabited by heathen 
tribes of a very low order of civilisation, who admit 
neither Europeans nor coloured Moslems to their 
villages. We had now reached the southern frontier 
of Bornu, and were about to enter the Fullah district 
Nordadamaua. Mora resembles the other Bornu 
towns, but is smaller than Karnak, Gulfei, Kusseri, 
or Dikoa. 

The next day Roder and I visited the sultan in his 
fortress. We crossed several courts, in which were 
kept whole herds of tame gazelles, and on reaching 
the apartments of the sultan, were warmly welcomed 
by him. He showed us all the curiosities of his palace, 
and finally the harem, though all his wives ran away 
as we entered. Then he conducted us in person to 
our horses. The people in the street cheered and 
shouted, and the sultan smilingly shook hands with 
us as if to show the crowd that he was on good terms 
with the white men. The same afternoon he sent 
us two adult striped hyenas, a leopard, three jackals, 
and a green monkey. I was specially pleased to have 
the leopard. The hyenas were very savage, and woe 
betide the man who came within reach of their snap- 
ping jaws. Unfortunately one of them had crooked 
front legs, which had perhaps been broken and badly 
set. So I decided to shoot him, and send his skull 
and skin to a museum at home. The jackals were 
dear little things about two months old, very shy 
and frolicsome. For the adult hyena I had a strong 
cage made of stout pieces of wood. When it was 
finished I found that the entrance had been made too 
small. The animal was making frantic efforts to 


escape, and there was no time to alter the cage, so 
I ordered the natives to push the beast in. In fear 
and trembling four or five men attempted to take 
hold of it, but it bit them so savagely that they had 
to let go. At last I came to the rescue, and coming 
up from behind threw a large cloth over the head of 
the infuriated animal. I then beat the men violently 
with my hippopotamus hide whip, and forced them 
to take hold. Fifty men grasped the hyena, and it 
was amusing to watch them nearly throttling it in 
their anxiety not to let it escape. At last the beast 
was safely in its cage. At least so we thought, but 
in the middle of the night Roder's boy came running 
into my tent and announced that the hyena had 
broken loose, and was running about the camp. As 
the latter was surrounded by a high stockade, with 
only one entrance, which was securely fastened, I 
decided to leave the animal there until morning. 
Roder had placed a loaded rifle beside his pillow in 
case of accident. The following morning the busi- 
ness of catching the hyena had to be gone through 
once more, and indeed many times before we reached 
Garua. At the present time the lioness Simba and 
a griffon vulture are in the Berlin Zoological Gardens. 
Two hyenas, three jackals, and various monkeys 
were sent to Frankfort, whilst the Hamburg Zoo re- 
ceived a hyena, a leopard, and other animals. When 
I listen to the remarks of the public outside my 
lady Simba's cage, I often wonder whether anybody 
has the least idea of the trouble entailed in bringing 
the animals home. 

Before leaving Mora we proposed to spend two 
days in the Mandara Mountains, in order to make 
the acquaintance of the aborigines. We begged the 


sultan to provide us with a guide, but he insisted on 
accompanying us himself. At 6 a.m. we set out ac- 
cordingly, escorted by the sultan and some of his 
suite. Straight in front of us we could see a pecu- 
liarly shaped peak, which bore a striking resemblance 
to a gigantic snow man. (Illus. 149.) 

Wearily we climbed the steep mountain side, being 
frequently obliged to avoid large rocks that blocked 
the path. (Illus. 148.) It took us two hours and a 
half to reach the summit, and by this time a fog had 
come on so that there was no view, and still we 
had not got to the snow man. The last part of the 
ascent was less steep, and after crossing a few cre- 
vasses and boulders, we reached our goal. The head 
and body consisted of two huge blocks of stone piled 
one upon the other. The fog lifted, and far down 
in the valley we could see Mora nestling against the 
side of the mountain. 

Whether any white man had previously made this 
ascent, I do not know, but in any case we immor- 
talised our names by carving them on the rocks. 
Presently we caught sight of some natives standing like 
baboons, and watching us from behind some boulders. 
We beckoned to them to approach, and shouted to 
them that we were friends The presence of the sultan 
and his people seemed to inspire them with a little 
confidence, and they reluctantly obeyed our summons. 
They were quite naked, and carried bows and arrows. 
I explained that we should like to visit their chief, 
if they would guide us to their village. They con- 
sented, and after more climbing, we reached some 
stone huts, that clung like birds' nests to the in- 
hospitable rocks. 

The native men came crowding round, and stood 


leaning on their spears and watching us curiously. 
(Illus. 151.) The women and children did not show 
themselves. Presently a venerable looking old 
gentleman approached, and I had the honour of being 
presented to the chief. In dealing with natives who 
have had little or no intercourse with white men, I have 
always found that a few friendly words will inspire 
confidence, still more so a few presents. 

The huts were circular, with stone walls and 
thatched roofs, some of them being above, and others 
below ground. Six or eight of them were built close 
together, and surrounded by a stockade. We saw 
goats and sheep wandering about at liberty, but the 
cattle were kept in small underground stone huts. 
They were entirely excluded from the world, and 
received their food through a small hole just large 
enough to admit a man, so that the poor creatures 
spent their days in darkness until at last they were 
killed and brought out piecemeal. I could find no 
sufficient reason for this barbarous custom, the 
excuse given being that hostile neighbours might 
drive off the cattle, if the animals were allowed to 
run loose. 

The natives struck me as being a poverty-stricken 
race, laboriously extracting a scanty livelihood from 
the ground. 

After making some sketches I bought a few imple- 
ments and utensils, weapons, military ornaments, 
fetishes, etc., but the people were not at all anxious 
to part with their possessions. Then as we had been 
repeatedly warned not to penetrate further into the 
mountains, we set off on the return journey to 

There were robber bands among the inhabitants 

146. Arab "Kashalla* 


of the mountains who preyed upon travellers, and 
even Lieutenant von Raben, whilst marching at the 
head of his caravan, had several oxen driven off from 
the rear. 

On the way I shot a few African eagles {Helot arsus 
ecaudatus). Before leaving we presented our fare- 
well gifts to the sultan. They consisted of a bay 
horse with halter and pack-saddle, some bales of good 
silks, soap, scent, and various other things. 

On the 6th of May we left Mora, and after camping 
on the way in various Fullah villages, reached Marua 
on the 8th. The chief, who is called " lamido " by 
the Fullahs, rode out to meet us with an escort of 
three hundred horsemen. 

Marua is by far the largest town in the whole of 
Adamaua. It was here in 1902 that Major, then 
Lieutenant, Dominik won a victory over the Fullahs 
and conquered Adamaua. 

We camped under a large, shady tree, just outside 
the town. Not far off, under another gigantic tree, 
we saw a solitary grave bearing the inscription " Graf 
Fugger." This gentleman was camping in Marua, 
when he was murdered by a fanatic. Even to-day 
bigoted priests preach a crusade against all un- 

Marua is a stronghold of Islam, and we often heard 
the muezzin calling the faithful to prayers. Twice 
in the night, too, the bell clanged insistently in the 
darkness, bidding them rise and pray. We saw some 
splendid Fullah types : men with noble faces, pale 
skins, and almost European expressions. The women 
had wonderful head-dresses made of red and white 
beads, sewn on semi-circular discs, and worn over 
their ears. I painted portraits of several Fullah 


ladies, and also of the lamido, and I sketched the 
wide market-place full of busy traders. 

Weyse invited me to pay him a visit in Binder, and 
I accepted all the more gladly because I was anxious 
to see Mendif, which is between Marua and Binder. 

We started on the 16th of May at 7.S0 a.m. and 
reached Mendif at eleven o'clock. The lamido came 
out to meet us with a large escort. During our stay 
at Mendif, one of my men was attacked by a native. 
Bleeding from a wound in the head, he came to com- 
plain to me. I enquired into the circumstances, and 
finding that my man was in no way to blame, I 
handed over the aggressor to the lamido for 

We continued our journey to Binder via Lara. 
Lieutenant Weyse was suffering from fever, but 
he recovered in a few days. We were very glad 
to meet again, as we had travelled to Africa 

It was time for me to go on to Garua, and Weyse 
set out for the French frontier in order to receive the 
Duke on his return from the Bagirmi expedition. On 
the 31st of May Roder and I reached Garua with our 
caravan. (Illus. 152.) 

At the beginning of June we were to meet the Duke, 
Haberer, and Schmidt. Captain Schwartz, the Gover- 
nor of Adamaua, was away, but his representative, 
Dr Range, informed us that the Duke was not expected 
until the middle of the month. So Roder and I decided 
to spend the intervening fortnight in the bush. We 
went in canoes up the Benue as far as the Mao-Kebbi 
(illus. 153, 154) near which we encamped. I spent the 
days hunting and painting, and Roder was busy from 
morning till night. 

148. Rocks in the Mandaragmountains. 

149. Village of Mora in the Mandara mountains. 

X Snowman. 



V i 


The middle of June found us once more in Garua, 
where we met Captain Schwartz. On the 20th at 
8 a.m. the Duke, Haberer, Weyse, and Schmidt also 
reached Garua, and after a separation of six months, 
the main expedition was once more united. 



Our last days in Garua were spent in packing, for 
transference to Germany, all the things we had col- 
lected during our travels. The chief difficulty lay 
in providing cages for all our numerous animals. We 
despatched one lion, three hyenas, one leopard, three 
jackals, thirteen monkeys, three marabouts, various 
birds of prey, and many other animals, all of which 
were gratefully accepted by the different zoological 
gardens. The soldiers of our escort were drafted 
into the Garua Company, and many of our " boys " 
found employment in the town ; only a very few 
accompanied us to the coast. My best servant, who 
had taken part in all my hunting expeditions, and 
with whom I had not once had occasion to find fault, 
unfortunately died of dysentery at Garua. 

At last we were ready to start, and we set off in 
two steel boats down the Benue River, as far as Yola. 
All the inhabitants of Garua came to see us off, thou- 
sands of people lining the banks as our boats slowly 
got under way. Our former " boys " and bearers 
followed us for some distance, shouting : " Good- 
bye, Massa ! " We waved our final adieus, and then 
began to shoot down stream, homeward-bound. On 
the 5th of July Yola came in sight. Mr Hoist, the 
agent of the Niger Company, received us, and kindly 
placed at our disposal the little steamer " Yola." 



We breakfasted with several English officers at the 
station, and then, after paying a visit to the military 
commandant, Captain Robertson, we went on board 
the " Yola," and set off with the two steel boats in 
tow. Every evening we encamped on the bank, but 
during the night of the 6th of July a violent tornado 
overturned our tents, forcing us to seek shelter on the 
steamer. Unfortunately Haberer's boy, Issonno, fell 
overboard without being noticed, and was drowned. 

On the 9th of July we reached Ibi, where we were 
received by the English residents. The same after- 
noon we touched at Abinsi, and Captains Fox and 
Gordon came on board for half an hour. The river 
here became both wider and deeper, but though the 
forest was very dense, there was a dearth of animal 
life. Not once did we hear the roar of a lion, which 
other travellers describe as a nightly occurrence. 
At Lokoja the Resident had erected a pretty triumphal 
arch in our honour, but Haberer and I were ill, so the 
Duke landed alone. He describes this part of the 
voyage in his diary as follows : — 

" As I stepped ashore, the people, who had 
assembled in crowds, prostrated themselves and 
shouted : ' The lion has come ! He is a great lion ! ' 
I suppose they meant a lion without a mane ! We 
spent the night at Bagana, and were interested to 
learn that walruses are often seen in the river, and 
that many have been caught by native hunters. At 
half past three in the afternoon we reached Lokoja, 
and as we were not expected so early no one was 
there to meet us. The Resident, Mr Maxwell-Lys, met 
us half-way, and invited me to spend the night in his 
hospitable house. 

" Lokoja is situated at the junction of the Niger and 


Benue Rivers, and has recently been much improved. 
The streets are wide and clean, and there is a polo 
ground and golf course. On the former I met a 
number of English officers, and then I visited the 
native quarter, which the authorities are endeavour- 
ing to render more sanitary. Two men armed with 
whips rode before us, and two others brought up the 
rear, so that any native who omitted to kneel and 
bend his head as we approached, speedily made ac- 
quaintance with the ' kiboko.' And yet I noticed 
very few discontented faces, most of those that were 
punished taking their chastisement quite as a matter 
of course. 

" 1 was invited to lunch at the officers' mess ; 
Haberer was too ill to be of the party, and Heims 
was still suffering from fever. During the afternoon, 
notwithstanding the rain, I was initiated by Captain 
Archer into the mysteries of golf, and in the evening 
several officers and officials came to dinner in Max- 
well's house. At 7 a.m. on the 14th we inspected 
the prettily situated hospital, and breakfasted with 
Herr Lackmann, Pagenstecher's representative. Our 
English friends assembled to see us off, and at eleven 
o'clock we were steaming down stream in the paddle- 
steamer ' Nigeria.' The band played on the bridge, 
and sent us a farewell greeting. 

" That night we camped at Etohe. We met several 
steamers, and were surprised to see so much shipping. 
From Lokojo to Forcados the river is navigable all 
the year, and this fact makes Lokojo the most im- 
portant town on its banks. From Sapame onwards 
we saw oil palms, which thickened into a forest in the 
Warri-Creek. The town of Warri is a charmingly 
pretty place, in a sheltered position. One or two 


ocean steamers were lying at anchor, as well as a whole 
flotilla of steam-launches. The Commissioner paid 
us a visit just as we were on the point of starting. 
Two hours later we reached Forcados, and took up 
a berth not far from the Elder-Dempster steamer 
1 Elmina,' which we had chartered by telegraph to 
convey us to Lome. We boarded her in company 
with a few English people, and then, whilst our 
luggage was being transferred, we went ashore. 
Forcados is undoubtedly the ugliest town on the West 
Coast. Built in the middle of a swamp in an ugly 
neighbourhood, the greater part of the town is 
periodically flooded during the rainy season. A 
short time ago a steam launch collided with an engine, 
and this fact speaks for itself. However, Forcados 
is the key to the Niger, and is consequently a grow- 
ing town of ever increasing importance. All the 
houses are built on piles, and the swamp is in course 
of being drained. The harbour is excellent, without 
rocks or dangers of any kind, so that the largest ocean 
liners can ride at anchor in safety. 

" The Acting-Commissioner invited us to dinner, and 
Haberer and Heims had sufficiently recovered to be 
able to join the party. We were all very cheerful 
and friendly, and after dinner I actually won a 
billiard match. As a prize I was given the ball with 
which I had won the game, and every other player 
engraved his name upon it. 

" On the 18th a violent storm prevented any further 
sight- seeing, but in the evening I invited a few gentle- 
men to a farewell dinner on board the ' Elmina.' 
The rain fell in torrents the following morning, as we 
slowly steamed out of the harbour. 

" This was the end of the Central African Expedition 


as far as Haberer, Heims, and I were concerned. I 
look back upon it with every satisfaction, and I 
believe that I am correct in stating that its scientific 
results surpass those of the 1907 and 1908 expedi- 
tion. I have the gratification of knowing that I 
am the first German of late years to navigate Lake 
Tchad, and the first of all my countrymen to explore 
the interior of Bagirmi. I also consider that we were 
fortunate in being the first travellers to explore the 
unknown parts of the North Cameroons (Musgum and 
Tuburi) for scientific purposes. As we had travelled 
down the Benue more rapidly than I had anticipated, 
I decided to spend three weeks with Heims in the 
Colony of Togo." 

Professor Haberer, owing to illness, returned home 
via England in the " Elmina." 

The Duke's diary continues as follows :— 
" On the evening of the 19th of July we anchored 
in the roadstead off Lagos. Captain Man, the Acting- 
Governor's Adjutant, came on board early the next 
morning, and invited us to breakfast and lunch. 
The lifeboat conveyed us safely over the breakers 
of the bar, so that we arrived tolerably dry. We 
were received by the Acting-Governor James and 
his staff, and the German Consul, and a motor was 
waiting for us on the quay. Once again I marvelled 
at the enterprise of the English ; an entirely new 
quarter of the town was springing up, and everything 
required for the construction of the railway was 
smelted, worked, and completed on the spot. The 
new sleeping cars on the Baro and Zungeru line are 
wonderfully up-to-date, and there is electric light in 
every compartment. No less marvellous is the con- 
struction of the new mole, which when complete 

153 and 154. The Mao-Kebbi near Garua. 

155. Rest house at Togo. 

6 2 1 

156. The Duke (1) with Trierenberg (2) and Heims (3) on their 
cycle tour to Atakpame. 


will enable even the largest liners to enter the har- 
bour ; the channel has been made by dredging, and 
will be kept clear by the strong ebb tide. The mole 
will be double, and its cost is estimated at two million 
pounds. The necessary stone is brought forty miles 
by train from the interior, sixty tons being required 
for each foot of the mole. 

"During the last three years Lagos has greatly 
increased in size. The sand resulting from the 
dredging operations has been utilized to fill up large 
swamps, and thus provide new building sites. The 
sand was brought from the dredges through long 
pipes by means of compressed air ; each dredging 
vessel dealt with 1000 tons of sand at a time. 

" At three o'clock the lifeboat conveyed us back to 
the ship, and two hours later we weighed anchor and 
set off towards Lome, which we reached at 6.30 a.m. 
on the 22nd of July. We were filled with admiration 
as we gazed at the clean, attractive town, which is 
reputed to be the most beautiful on the West Coast. 
Last May a great tidal wave lifted the entire landing- 
stage from its supports, and hurled it into nine or ten 
feet of water. Eleven loaded trucks were standing 
on it at the time. Consequently everything has now 
to be conveyed through the surf, including all our 
baggage, and our menagerie of thirty-one beasts. 
Everything fortunately reached the shore in safety. 
I had begged to be excused an official reception, so 
that the only people to welcome us were the Governor 
Bruckner, Herr Hermans, Dr Asmis, Lieutenant von 
Hirschfeld, and Lieutenant Trierenberg, the latter 
being told off to attend me during my stay in Togo. 

" The ' Mo we,' a German guard-ship, lay at anchor 
in the roadstead. The Governor has done much to 


improve the sanitary conditions of Lome ; part of the 
thick bush has been cut down, and as a result the mos- 
quito plague has been considerably diminished. The 
climate is comparatively cool, the thermometer regis- 
tering only from 62° to 82°, which to us seemed almost 
cold. A large lagoon extending several miles behind the 
town is a fertile breeding place for mosquitoes, which are 
a great source of annoyance to the inhabitants of Lome. 

" The following day was occupied in preparations 
for our ten days' trip into the interior ; Lieutenant 
Trierenberg kindly offering to accompany us. Our 
programme was as follows : to go by train to Palime, 
and thence on foot or in rickshaws to Misahohe, where 
we proposed to rest for a day ; then a three days' 
journey by train to Atakpame, followed by a day's 
rest; train to Nuatja, another day's rest; and then 
train back to Lome. The days of rest were to be 
spent in making excursions in the neighbourhood. 

" We started at 7 a.m. on the 24th of July, and in 
three hours reached Palime, which was decorated with 
flags in our honour. Accompanied by a great crowd of 
people, we stepped into rickshaws which were adorned 
with palms and little flags. At about noon we arrived 
at the foot of the mountain on which Misahohe is 
built, and walked the rest of the way, the road being 
too steep for rickshaws. 

" Misahohe stands on the edge of the mountain ; the 
houses are white with shingle roofs. The station is 
often wrapped in fog the whole day, but when the mist 
lifts a magnificent view of the surrounding country is 

" In the afternoon we walked to a neighbouring water- 
fall, of which there are a great many in these parts. 
On the 25th after an early cup of coffee, we bicycled 


seven and a half miles to Zechbriicke, which took us 
only twenty minutes, the road being downhill all the 
way. Heims made some sketches, while Trierenberg 
and I took photographs ; then we bicycled to the 
sleeping-sickness camp of which my former travel- 
ling companion, Dr von Raven, has been the super- 
intendent for the last two years. The results of his 
treatment have been more or less successful : he 
claims to have cured a few cases, at any rate for a 
time. He even mentioned one patient who showed 
no signs of trypanosoma three or four years after the 
last atoxyl injection (an organic compound of arsenic), 
but the doctor was obliged to admit that there is 
no known specific for sleeping-sickness. The camp is 
an interesting centre for medical research, but clini- 
cally it is quite valueless ; politically it actually does 
harm, for the natives maintain that healthy people 
are taken in and inoculated with the disease, and as 
the result the population is beginning to leave the 

" Raven has at present 177 patients, but what is 
that among so many ? One half die, and the other 
half are discharged ' cured,' that is to say, most of them 
relapse, but prefer to die in the bush rather than re- 
turn to the camp. It seems a pity for the Govern- 
ment thus to waste money, which might be much 
more profitably employed. Medical men must con- 
tinue their researches regarding the different species 
of trypanosoma, but the burden of the expense ought 
not to fall on the State. 

" In the afternoon we visited another water-fall, and 
in the evening von Raven and the doctor from Palime 
came to dinner. It was bitterly cold, and the fog 
crept into the verandah where we sat. The follow- 


ing morning we set off to inspect the Douglas planta- 
tion at the foot of the Agu Mountain. We bicycled 
through fog and rain to Palime, whence we were con- 
veyed in a little cart drawn by several men for three 
hours up hill and down dale to the plantation. We 
inspected the oil plant, and after wandering for two 
hours among the trees, we adjourned to the overseer's 
little house, which is charmingly situated in a ravine. 
Oil palms (Manihot glaziovii), (Kickxia does not flourish 
here), and cocoa trees are cultivated. The production 
of oil is still in the experimental stage, and conse- 
quently last year's harvest of fifty-seven tons must 
be considered satisfactory. 

" On the 27th we set out on our bicycles at 7 a.m. 
to visit a neighbouring plantation, and then went 
on through Palime to the Credner Falls at Pime. The 
water falls 260 feet over the bare rocks, and this is 
certainly the finest cascade in the whole of Togo. 
It was discovered and named by the explorer Gruner. 
At five o'clock we reached Krate, and found the inn 
prettily decorated with flags. The road was mostly 
up-hill, so that we pushed our machines more often 
than we rode them. At noon the following day we 
arrived at Ele, where we spent the remainder of the 
day, and slept at the little inn. (Illus. 155.) 

" The last day was the most fatiguing of all, as we 
had to bicycle thirty-seven miles to Atakpame, through 
ravines and watercourses, and over a road strewn with 
stones and boulders. (Illus. 156.) On one occasion, as 
I was trying to ford a stream on my bicycle, I suddenly 
rode into a hole, and was thrown off, with the water 
up to my chest. The same thing happened to Heims, 
who was close behind me. We were scarcely in the | 
saddle before we were forced to dismount again to 


avoid falling into a ditch or ravine, or sticking 
fast in a swamp. We calculated that we must 
have got on and off our machines at least seventy 

" Over the fairly wide rivers Amu and Amutscher, 
we fortunately found bridges made of tree trunks. 
We climbed the steep but well-kept road to Atak- 
pame, where Lieutenant Stockhausen and the other 
Europeans were awaiting us. The Mission Station 
and Sisterhood as well as the Government offices are 
on the heights, but the native settlement is below in 
the valley. Many of the negroes have built their 
houses in the European style, with glass windows and 
a verandah. An experimental plantation covers the 
slope which leads up to the station. We had in- 
tended to climb the Lokoto, which is the highest 
mountain, but were obliged to give up the idea owing 
to a dense fog. 

" On the 31st a special train conveyed us to Nuatja, 
where there is an agricultural college, in which Dr 
Sengmuller instructs the enquiring minds of the 
negroes in European methods of ploughing and sow- 
ing, etc. The following day I rode through the cotton 
fields with Trierenberg and Dr Sengmuller, and 
watched the farm pupils at their work. 

" On the 2nd of August we were once more in Lome, 
and dined at the Governor's house, where we met 
Councillor Herman, and Baron Godelli. 

" The rest of our time in Lome was spent in riding, 
exploring the town and neighbourhood, and paying 
visits, as well as in making the necessary prepara- 
tions for our approaching departure. On the 6th 
we went for a half day's cruise in the " Mo we," 
which rolled so heavily that we all felt somewhat 


sea-sick. On the way back we saw some whales. 
At three o'clock we were once more on terra firma, 
having come through the surf without getting too 

" On the 8th of August I went with the Governor, 
Trierenberg, and Heims to Anecho. A great crowd 
of people, headed by the Europeans and native 
chiefs had assembled to welcome us. We were pre- 
sented to the chiefs, who were all exceedingly polite, 
thanking Heaven that they had lived to see such a 
happy day, etc. The Governor was paying his first 
visit to Anecho, and was enthusiastically received. 
After we had inspected the Mission Station, we went 
over the Hospital, where we had lunch with Dr and 
Mrs Rodenwaldt. We went home by boat, across 
the lagoon to the beautifully situated Government 

" On the 9th we made a bicycling tour of about 
eighteen miles round the markets of the lagoon. I 
was amazed at the crowds of people of every race, and 
at the variety of the wares. We crossed the lagoon 
and breakfasted in full view of about three hundred 
natives who for a time looked on in silence, and then 
began to dance. In the evening they executed the 
most wonderful dances, which we watched from the 
roof of Dr Rodenwaldt's house. I have seldom seen 
a more entrancing spectacle ; a national costume 
was the only thing wanting, for the betrousered niggers 
somewhat marred the picture. 

" On the 12th of August I stood on the beach and 
watched our baggage being conveyed in small boats 
to the steamer. Three capsized and another was 
swamped, but the remainder got through the breakers 
in safety. 

j 1 

157. "Simba" on the voyage to Europe. 

158. Hyenas on board. 





" In the afternoon I had invited all our friends to a 
shooting match in the Botanical Gardens. Heims 
had painted a splendid target representing an ante- 
lope almost life size. Unfortunately the officers of 
the ' Mowe ' were unable to be of the party, as the 
sea was so rough that they could not land. It was 
our last evening in Lome." 

The steamer " Konig " had been chartered for the 
13th of August to take us home. At 6 a.m. we went 
down to the beach to inspect the surf. The " Mowe " 
was anchored in the roadstead, and was to take us 
on board pending the arrival of the " Konig." We 
took leave of our friends, and embarked, accompanied 
by the Governor and Lieutenant Trierenberg. The 
heavy boat grated on the pebbles as it was pushed 
into the water, and the boatmen paddled vigorously 
until we encountered the first breaker, which tossed 
the boat into the air, and then rolled away under it. 
With all their might the rowers drove the boat on, 
and ceased paddling as we neared the second breaker. 
We waited in dead silence, anxiously wondering 
whether we should capsize. Now we were on the crest 
of the wave, and now we were down in the trough. 
Once more the boat was thrust onwards till the crest 
of the third breaker rushed to meet us. Once more 
we were on the top of it, and then the boat hit the 
water with a loud splash, so that we were all drenched. 
At length the last breaker was behind us, and we sped 
over the remaining stretch of smooth water that 
separated us from the ship. We had scarcely reached 
the deck of the " Mowe " when we were informed 
that the " Konig " had been sighted. We watched 
the tiny puff of smoke gradually growing larger, until 
at last the hull could be seen above the horizon. The 


" Konig " anchored alongside of us, and with some 
anxiety I looked forward to the transhipment of our 
menagerie. (Illus. 157, 158.) This was, however, 
safely accomplished. A last farewell, and then the 
Governor and Lieutenant Trierenberg went over the 
side ; we weighed anchor, and steamed out towards 
the open sea, homeward bound. 

Slowly the beautiful town of Lome and the African 
coast faded from view. On the 23rd we touched at 
Teneriffe, where we found the German cruiser, 
" Berlin," coaling. Her Commander paid the Duke 
a short visit, which His Highness and I returned on 
board the " Berlin." We inspected the man-of-war, 
and then returned to the " Konig," and proceeded 
to Madeira. On the 29th of August we arrived at 
Boulogne, where Herr Eiffe and Herr Sanne came 
on board to welcome the Duke. 

In the music-room that evening we were merrily 
celebrating our safe return, when I crept out, and 
created much amusement by suddenly bringing my 
lioness " Simba " into the brilliantly lighted saloon. 
On the 31st the " Konig " steamed up the Elbe, and 
we were met by the " Lome " on board of which were 
Her Royal Highness the Grand-duchess Marie, His 
Royal Highness the Grand- duke Friedrich Franz of 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, His Highness Duke Paul 
Friedrich of Mecklenburg, and Her Highness Princess 
Marie Antoinette of Mecklenburg. The ships in the 
harbour of Hamburg were gaily decorated with flags, 
and soon our vessel was moored alongside the Petersen 
quay. We were home at last ! 



Captain von Wiese und Kaiserswaldau 



On the 1st of January 1911 Monsieur Ruet, who was 
on his way back to Bangi, Sergeant-Major Roder, 
and I left Fort Lamy in the last steamer of the season. 
I was to make my way back as rapidly as possible 
via Archambault, Crampel, and Sibut to Possel, and 
thence travel up the Ubangi to the Nile. Dr Schubotz, 
the zoologist, was to join me at Crampel. There is 
little to describe about our return journey to the 
Ubangi, since but a few months previously I had 
marched along the same route in the opposite direc- 
tion, as described in Chapter II. 

At first we were singularly unfortunate. On the third 
day after leaving Fort Lamy, Sergeant-Major Roder 
became so seriously ill with black-water fever that I was 
obliged to leave him behind. At Mandjafa I com- 
mitted him to the care of an Ambulance Sergeant - 
Major whom I summoned from the German station 
Maniling, immediately opposite Mandjafa. I also sent 
urgent messages requesting Dr Haberer to come and 
take charge of Roder. His illness was all the more 
unfortunate because I had been counting on his 
assistance and must now travel alone, leaving Roder 
to rejoin the Duke's party on his recovery. 

On the voyage up the river, I was continually 
checked owing to defects in the engine-room. These 
old steamers, the " Leon Blott " and the " Jacques 



d'Uzes," had for fifteen years been in constant use 
in charge of incompetent black engineers, and had 
never been thoroughly overhauled during the whole 
of that time. The wonder was, not that they 
occasionally broke down, but that they ever went 
on again. Apart from these delays, the low water 
caused us so often to run aground that we did not 
reach Archambault until the 15th of January. We 
were, however, very thankful to arrive at all by steamer. 
The water was certainly more favourable this year 
than usual, for, as a rule, after January steamers take 
two or three months to travel from Fort Lamy to 
Archambault, and it is so precarious a voyage that 
many Frenchmen postpone going home on leave 
rather than undertake this part of the journey. There 
is often so little water in the Shari that boats have 
to be dragged over long stretches of sand. Since the 
Shari is navigable only during certain months of the 
year, the necessity for a railway from the West Coast 
to the Tchad district is obvious. 

From Archambault I set out on foot via Irena and 
Kabo to Crampel, through a barren country, in which, 
however, both big game and mosquitoes were plenti- 
ful. The latter were in fact so numerous near Irena 
that I was obliged to travel by night, and take 
refuge during the day under a mosquito-net. I shot 
some water-buck, saiga-antelopes, and baboons. The 
ground was very stony, and the grass consequently 
so short that the game was easy to track. I was 
disappointed not to find Dr Schubotz at Crampel, 
both the Duke's letters and mine having unaccount- 
ably gone astray. Being therefore in ignorance of 
our altered programme, he had travelled north, ex- 
pecting to meet me at Archambault, and must have 





passed me on the road. In order not to lose any more 
time, especially as I knew that it would be almost 
impossible to obtain bearers for us both, I determined 
to set out alone towards the Ubangi. 

As I marched along the road between Crampel 
and Sibut, I saw active operations in progress. An 
officer was superintending the construction of a motor 
road, at which six hundred men were working, to the 
importance of which I have already alluded in Chapter 
II. Further on I encountered two thousand natives 
carrying material for the construction of the telegraph 
between Bangi and Lake Tchad, then reinforcements 
dispatched from the Senegal to Wadai with large 
supplies of provisions and ammunition, and finally 
fifty-nine European officers, medical men, and sub- 
officers sent direct from France to support the Govern- 
ment in Wadai. Amongst them I met Colonel 
Largeau, the successor to Colonel Moll, who was killed 
near Abescher. He had orders to lead a strong force 
against the Wadais and Massalits, and was rein- 
forced for the purpose with four battalions of Senegal 
riflemen, with cavalry and artillery. 

The military transport naturally requisitioned all 
the available bearers and boats. If, therefore, our 
whole party had been travelling together along this 
route, we should have found it quite impossible to 
obtain enough bearers, and we should very likely 
have spent months waiting about on the main road. 
For this reason I deemed it expedient to divide the 
expedition into two parties. 

I proposed to march on towards Possel, whilst Dr 
Schubotz made a tour in the district east of the 
Shari, near the Bahr-Salamat and the Bahr-Keta, 
where a plentiful supply of wild animals provided 


a rich field for zoological research. (Illus. 159.) A few 
weeks later he returned to Crampel via Archambault, 
along the west bank of the Gribingi, and followed in 
my wake. 

Meanwhile I had reached Fort Sibut, and found 
it so difficult to obtain bearers that I made up my 
mind to go by boat to Possel down the Tomi and Kemo 
Rivers. Owing to the laziness of my boatmen this 
voyage took five days, though the same distance can 
easily be accomplished on foot in three days. The 
natives were beginning to burn the grass on both 
sides of the river, and to carry out their noisy 
methods of hunting, driving the frightened animals 
before them. Every evening the fiery red sky re- 
flected the burning plains, and the crackling of the 
trees could be heard a long way off. Quantities of 
ashes were scattered in every direction by the wind, 
and as they were blown about, alighted on our faces, 
until we looked as black as niggers ; they also gave 
rise to inflammation of the eyes. 

In Possel I was surprised again to find no news of 
Schubotz. I did not know that he had asked the 
Duke's permission to follow the course of the Uelle 
from Yakoma as far as Lado, instead of accompany- 
ing me along the Ubangi to the Nile. The vast Congo 
forest with its unexplored mysteries, and the hope 
of shooting some of the rare okapis, were a far greater 
attraction to him than the prospect of travelling 
in the sultanates and in Bahr-el-Ghazal. As Schubotz 
wrote to me, my itinerary seemed to offer nothing 
but " a daily struggle, firstly with passive resisters 
against the authority of a feeble Government, 
secondly, with the natural indolence of the natives, 
and thirdly, with the submerged and almost impass- 

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162. Forest avenues on the Ubangi. 

163. Banda women of the Togbo tribe. 

164. Danziri woman at the hair-dresser's. 


able roads." I was fully alive to all these obstacles. 
But as one of the principal objects of the expedition 
was to explore the three great sultanates of the Mbomu 
district, I resolved to adhere to my programme. At 
the same time I was sorry to be deprived of Schubotz' 
company, especially as I had been obliged to part 
with Sergeant-Major Roder. 

Since the famous, but disastrous military expedi- 
tion of Commandant Marchand to Fashoda, no ex- 
plorer, or at any rate no scientific explorer, had 
visited the country through which I now proposed 
to travel. So with the Nile for my goal, I set off 
eastwards with a light heart. 

Knowing that, in face of the transport difficulties, 
my baggage would prove the greatest hindrance to 
my progress, I decided to take as little as possible, 
and to leave the remainder at Possel. My caravan 
was composed of a Bornu cook, two Suaheli " boys " 
who had been with me during my previous African 
travels, two natives of Jaunde who had served in the 
Cameroons Constabulary, and forty loads. (Illus. 160.) 
The bearers and boatmen essential to my progress 
had to be procured from day to day in the villages. 
It was seldom possible to find natives who were 
willing to accompany me for more than one or two 
days, and the constant changing of bearers proved 
a perpetual worry, as the people either entirely re- 
fused their services, or else demanded extortionate 
payment. The customary rate of pay for the Ubangi 
boatmen was two francs a day and their food: reck- 
oned according to European standards, this would 
amount to nearly a pound a day. On several occa- 
sions the boatmen agreed to accompany me, and then 
stopped midway, declining to go any further unless 


I promised them a generous present in addition to 
their stipulated payment. The only thing to do was 
to refuse firmly, and when this failed, to give in weakly. 
Sometimes the men simply took to their heels and 
left us far away from any village without a single 
bearer. The Government could give us no assistance, 
since in the first place the stations were too far apart, 
and in the second place, when we did complain to the 
officials, their only reply was to shrug their shoulders 
regretfully. The authority of the Government was 
not strong enough to enable them to institute reforms 
or punish the rebels. 

I found that the usual articles accepted in other 
colonies in place of money, e.g. cloth, beads, etc., 
were not welcome here. But the transport difficulties 
made it impossible for me to carry other valuable 
presents, which might have melted the hearts of the 
negroes. Even the carriage of my forty loads was 
sufficiently troublesome. They included tent, bed, 
table, clothes, medicine, ammunition, guns, photo- 
graphic apparatus, cooking utensils, wares for ex- 
change, salt, provisions, etc. No load weighed more 
than fifty pounds, as otherwise it would have been 
too heavy for people unaccustomed to the work of 

It was a ten days' journey by boat from Fort de 
Possel to Mobaye. During the rainy season the 
distance is accomplished in four days by two little 
steamers belonging to the " Compagnie des Trans- 
ports generaux du Haut Oubangui." I had taken 
the precaution of writing from Crampel to charter 
five native boats, and I found them duly waiting 
for me when I arrived in Possel. On the evening of 
the 18th of February I engaged the owners of the 


boats to row me to Mobaye. Early on the following 
day I accordingly arrived at the river bank with my 
loads, ready for embarkation, but, to my surprise, 
there were neither boats nor boatmen to be seen. 
In their place a French merchant presented himself, 
and informed me that he had requisitioned my 
rowers, leaving me to find others. I hurried to the 
station and made a formal complaint. The officials 
took vigorous measures, and having fetched the men 
from their distant huts, forced them to carry out 
their engagement with me. As far as I could make 
out, the French merchant had bribed my boatmen 
to leave me in the lurch and row him to Bangi. This 
episode delayed me so long that it was noon before 
my flotilla of boats was ready for the start. 

It was not a particularly attractive country through 
which I passed. For the first few days the river was 
shut in by tall trees (illus. 161, 162), but further on 
the banks were bare and steep. The width of the 
Ubangi varied from half a mile to a mile. We were 
rowing against the current, so that our rate of progress 
was very slow, only about one and a quarter miles per 
hour. At first I found it rather pleasant lying extended 
on a deck-chair, and gliding up-stream without any ex- 
ertion on my part. But after spending twelve hours 
in the sweltering heat, cramped in a narrow boat which 
threatened to capsize on the slightest provocation, 
I felt quite exhausted, and was glad to land in the 
evening and pitch my tent. The Banziri boatmen 
chattered and sang the whole time, and diffused an 
aroma which was certainly not very fragrant, whilst 
the smell of their smoked fish and roasted manioc 
would have sickened the least sensitive individual. 
The odours in camp were not much better, and I 


always had my tent pitched as far away from the 
natives as possible. 

It was not until late in the evening, when the air 
was cooled by a refreshing breeze, and the customary 
chiefs' visits were at an end, that I could rest in peace. 
Even then I was tormented by countless mosqui- 
toes, that made their appearance immediately after 
sunset, and proceeded to satisfy their bloodthirsty 
cravings. It was only when the moon was full that 
these troublesome creatures ceased their interminable 

I had supposed that this was the dry season and 
that there would not be any rain, but on the very 
first day I was undeceived. A few hours after leav- 
ing Possel, we were overtaken by a violent tornado, 
which tossed the boats hither and thither, and 
threatened to swamp them, so that we had to seek 
shelter in a creek. One boat unfortunately capsized, 
and several valuable loads were lost. The storm 
raged all night, and another boat was torn from its 
moorings, and driven helplessly down-stream. Luckily 
it became caught in the branches of the overhanging 
trees about three miles down, so that we were able to 
recover it the next day. 

My first stopping-place was Bessu, at the Roman 
Catholic mission station of the " Holy Family," 
which I had already visited in September of the pre- 
vious year. The Superintendent, Father Cotelle, 
welcomed me most cordially, and showed me over 
the station ; I also listened to the orchestra, com- 
posed of native boys. I then drank his health in 
home-brewed beer and gin. I was much interested 
in all that I saw, and the two-storied dwelling-house 
was the finest that I ever came across in the whole 


165. Banziri maiden with pearl-entwined head-dress. 

166. Banziri fishing basket. 

167. Sango children with pearl head-dress. 


of the French Congo. The mission station has been 
established for about fifteen years, and there is no 
other, either east, or north of the Ubangi, or in the 
Tchad district. 

The next morning our departure was delayed by 
another tornado. At about noon I set out for Zanga, 
near which are the rapids of the same name. This 
station is usually garrisoned by three soldiers, but, 
a few days before, one of them had fallen a victim 
to cannibals. We were tolerably safe so long as we 
kept to the river, but anyone venturing a mile or 
two inland ran a serious risk of falling into the hands 
of these man-eating tribes. The Bandas are still 
very intolerant of the advent of Europeans. 

The Banziris inhabit the river banks from Possel 
to Kuango, and after this the Burakas to a point two 
days' journey west of Mobaye. These two tribes 
seem to be the oldest river inhabitants. They get 
their living solely by fishing, and own many boats, 
in which they navigate the Ubangi and its tributaries, 
exchanging their fish for other necessaries. They 
also carry on an active slave-trade. These were the 
natives that we hired as boatmen, for the Bandas 
possess no boats, and do not know how to row. 

The Banziris and Burakas speak the same language. 
They are well set up and intelligent, but they cannot 
be said to be modest, and they are inveterate thieves. 
The women, who are considered the most beautiful 
in the district, dress their hair in an extraordinary 
fashion. (Illus. 164.) Red or white beads are plaited 
into it, and the whole coiffure often weighs several 
pounds, and its dressing occupies a great deal of their 
time. (Illus. 165.) Beads are readily accepted in place 
of money, one teaspoonful of beads being considered 


equivalent to two eggs, and three teaspoonfuls to one 
fowl. I encamped for several days close to Mbrunga, 
one of the principal Banziri chiefs, in order to study 
the manners and customs of this tribe. They have no 
large villages, most of them consisting of only about 
fifty huts. I noticed many well-made fishing-nets, 
baskets, and other fishing apparatus (illus. 166), which, 
all along the river, emphasised the importance of both 
these tribes as fishermen. 

I was suffering from malaria, followed by an attack 
of black -water fever, so I rested for a few days in 
Kuango, a town which is called after the river of 
the same name, a tributary of the Ubangi. Not 
far from my camp was a factory belonging to the 
Kuango Concession Company, one of the numerous 
companies which possess in their respective districts 
the sole rights of buying india-rubber and ivory. The 
head office of this company is at Bambari, on the 
Upper Kuango, where a battalion of sharpshooters 
is to be garrisoned in order to suppress the constant 
insurrections of the natives. West of Bambari, the 
district Governor recently led a military expedition 
against the Longuassis, who had murdered several 
soldiers and of course eaten them. 

On the 1st of March I camped in a village of Sangos, 
whose chief was called Mambetto. 

The Sangos (illus. 167, 168), like the Banziris 
and Burakas, are fisherfolk and boatmen. (Illus. 
169.) Their villages are larger, and their huts are 
higher and more pointed, and are always built close 
to the water's edge. Immediately beyond them 
is the country of the agricultural Bubus, who 
inhabit the whole district north of Mobaye. North 
of the Bubus live the Yagbas, Sabangas, Lindas, 


and Morubas, the three last of which are Banda 

On the 2nd of March I reached Mobaye (illus. 170), 
the seat of the district Government, with a garrison 
of sharpshooters. The Deputy-Commandant, Lieu- 
tenant Rouget, welcomed me in the most friendly 
fashion. Mobaye is the highest point at which the 
Ubangi is navigable for steamers during the rainy 
season. The houses and shops are well built, and 
there is a park with bamboo, mango, and palm-tree 
avenues. Every five days a provision market is 
held for the benefit of natives living in the neighbour- 
hood. The whole district is ravaged by sleeping 
sickness, which causes a high death-rate. It was 
impossible to penetrate more than one day's march 
in a northerly direction, on account of the hostility 
of the natives. 

The station Banzyville is situated opposite Mobaye, 
on the Belgian side, and the most cordial relations 
exist between the Belgians and the French. The 
natives seemed to be better disciplined in Belgian 
territory, and the Government does not hesitate to 
send troops to punish insurgent chiefs. Consequently 
boatmen and bearers were easily obtained on the 
Belgian side, which was by no means the case in the 
French districts. 

There was in Mobaye a dear, little, tame, female 
elephant, called Mademoiselle Mobaye, who was on 
very friendly terms with both man and beast, and 
was specially attached to a herd of tame hogs that 
ran about the station. Every day she bathed in the 
cool waters of the Ubangi, and always showed a 
preference for the negro bathing - place, the latter 
returning the compliment with many jokes. They 


danced in the water round Mademoiselle Mobaye, 
pulled her tail and her trunk, and rode on her back. 
(Illus. 172.) At Banzyville too, on the Belgian side, 
there was a six-year-old tame elephant, but he was 
not so friendly, and often made himself a nuisance 
by stealing the provision-baskets belonging to the 
natives. His temper too was so uncertain that it 
was proposed to shoot him. Neither of the elephants 
had ever been broken in to work. 

The French authorities advised me not to proceed 
any further east on the right bank of the Ubangi, and 
since travelling on the river itself was too monotonous, 
I decided to continue my journey on the left bank, 
through Belgian territory, and accordingly trans- 
ferred my caravan to Banzyville. I was most kindly 
received by Lieutenant Scharf, and also had the 
pleasure of meeting the Governor of the Belgian 
Ubangi district, Commandant van der Cruyssen, from 

Banzyville is a well-built and cleanly station, and 
it was a pleasure to see all the beautiful gardens and 
palm avenues, as well as the spacious stone houses 
and well-kept soldiers' huts. 

I sent part of my baggage in charge of my foot- 
sore boy Masudi by boat to Yakoma, and on the 
15th of March set out in an easterly direction with 
an escort of thirteen Belgian soldiers. The country 
south of the Ubangi is inhabited by small Sango tribes. 
Unlike the Sangos living near the river, they are agri- 
culturists, but otherwise their manners and customs 
are similar. One of their habits was new to me : girls 
who are old enough for marriage allow their hair to 
grow, and plait into it long strands of string of the same 
colour as their hair, so that at first sight they seem to 

168. Young Sango maiden. 

169. Sango maiden with fish basket. 

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be wearing it after the European fashion. (Illus. 174.) 
Negroes as a rule cut their hair quite short. When 
dancing, these girls wear on their backs a kind of drum, 
over which they spread out their hair, so that it may be 
seen to the best advantage and attract possible husbands. 
For everyday use, they wind their hair artistically, 
turban-fashion, round their heads. (Illus. 175.) On 
their wedding day they cut off their hair, both real 
and artificial, and throw it into the Ubangi. 

During the first few days' march I passed through 
inhabited villages, but on the fourth day I found 
them all deserted, the population having been driven 
away by sleeping sickness. I halted at Wote, and 
awaited the arrival of Commandant van der Cruyssen 
and Lieutenant Scharf, who were on their way to 
visit Yakoma. We travelled on together through 
a district in which tropical forests alternated with 
grassy plains. We had hoped for some hunting, but 
we saw hardly any antelopes. There were many 
buffalo and elephant spoors, and one morning we 
caught sight of a herd of about twenty red buffaloes, 
which we at once proceeded to stalk. We succeeded 
in reaching a favourable position, and shot three 
bulls and a young buffalo. 

We reached Dido, two days' journey from Yakoma, 
without having come across any elephants, so I decided 
not to go on with the other two gentlemen, but to 
organise a hunt in the neighbourhood of Dido. Every 
day before sunrise I left camp with native guides, 
and followed fresh spoors until late in the evening, 
creeping all day in a stooping posture through the 
bush, and forcing a path through creepers and thorns. 
Often I approached within a few yards of the ele- 
phants, when the cracking of a branch or the rustling 


of the leaves betrayed my presence, and they made off 
at full speed. One day in the densest part of the 
jungle I came within six yards of a large elephant, 
but was prevented by the intervening branches from 
taking proper aim. The animal took to flight, and 
though I followed for six hours, I saw him no more. 
Hunting elephants in the bush is dangerous work, 
for a wounded animal will often charge the hunter. 
But I found buffalo-hunting even more dangerous. 
Unless one has to do with a herd, which generally takes 
to flight, a solitary buffalo almost invariably charges. 
Near Dido I came across a big, powerful, buffalo 
bull, that charged as soon as he scented my presence. 
My first ball hit him in the chest, but had little effect. 
At five paces he received my second ball in the head, 
and fell down. He jumped up again and knocked me 
over, and then tossed a Belgian soldier who was stand- 
ing near. All this happened in an incredibly short 
time. Springing to my feet, I fired again, and this 
time the animal collapsed for good. But unfor- 
tunately the soldier was seriously wounded, and he 
had to be carried to Yakoma in a litter. I shall always 
remember with pleasure the days spent hunting in 
the neighbourhood of Dido, when I was free to wander 
at will in the bush, without the continual worries 
connected with bearers, boatmen, etc. My bag con- 
sisted of two elephants and three buffaloes, and it 
was useless to remain there any longer, since the 
Belgian hunting laws do not permit anyone to shoot 
more than two elephants. 

On the 1st of April I reached the Belgian station 
Yakoma, which is situated at the point where the 
Uelle and Mbomu Rivers unite to form the Ubangi. 
This district is inhabited by the Yakomas (illus. 173), 


who are nearly related to the Sangos and speak the 
same language. There is a great deal of sleeping- 
sickness in this neighbourhood ; between Banzyville 
and Yakoma I had passed through many deserted 
villages, and numerous graves testified to the large 
number of deaths from this cause. 

An Italian doctor at Yakoma showed me over his 
hospital for the treatment of this disease, and I was 
shocked at the miserable appearance of the patients. 
Of course only a small percentage of those affected 
can be admitted as in-patients, and most negroes prefer 
death to voluntary residence in a European hospital 
which they look upon as imprisonment. However, 
this doctor always had about a hundred and fifty patients 
under his care, most of them in the last stages of the 
disease, and the daily death-rate was considerable. 
The cemetery near the hospital bore witness to the 
fatal nature of the malady, for although the hospital 
has been in existence only a few months, I counted 
about a hundred and forty newly-made graves. How 
many more must have perished in the villages. Many 
of the sufferers, when they reach the maniacal stage 
of the disease, are bound and deposited in the bush, 
to perish miserably of hunger and thirst, or to be 
devoured by wild beasts. 

Many of the patients were nothing but skin and 
bone, and so weak that they could scarcely move. 
The treatment consists of injections of atoxyl, and 
the doctor mentioned several cases in which a com- 
plete cure had apparently resulted, although the 
patients, when admitted, were in a condition of severe 
emaciation. But these were only isolated cases of 
negroes who had given themselves up to the treat- 
ment, instead of remaining away from the hospital 

N 1 


for weeks at a time, as so often happens. Unfor- 
tunately the chiefs usually bring their people to the 
doctor when they are in the last stages, and then 
it is too late. If, however, a patient is treated with 
atoxyl at the very beginning of the disease, soon after 
being stung by the sleeping-sickness flies, on the ap- 
pearance of the first symptoms of headache, langour, 
and glandular swellings, the prognosis is favourable. 
There is plenty of work for medical men in Central 
Africa, for they must first enable the negroes to live 
there before merchants and planters can be success- 
ful. Formerly when the negroes dared not leave 
their homes for fear of hostile neighbours, the 
disease was limited to small districts. But now that 
Europeans have promoted peace amongst the tribes, 
and have safeguarded commerce, the natives move 
about freely. Caravans of bearers traverse the country, 
boats navigate the rivers, and the disease is dissemi- 
nated far and wide. 

The iron industry of the Yakomas seemed to me 
very wonderful, and nowhere else have I seen such 
well-made knives and spears. (Illus. 176.) Copper, 
too, is cleverly worked, and the natives are most skil- 
ful in carving ivory. I saw beautiful bugles, knife 
handles, bracelets, combs, walking sticks, snuff boxes, 
etc., which were made out of ivory by means of a very 
primitive lathe. This shows that in the Yakoma 
district there must still be a good deal of ivory, and 
therefore a good many living elephants. India- 
rubber and ivory are here, as everywhere in the Congo, 
the chief indigenous products. Some of the native 
chiefs are very wealthy, not only as regards bars of 
gold, but according to the number of their wives, 
their stores of india-rubber, ivory, and cloth ; con- 

Yakoma children with pearl head-dress 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims 


cealed rifles, too, sold to them in large numbers by 
conscienceless companies, are a measure of their 

On the 5th of April I left Yakoma in order to pay 
a visit to Galagwa, one of the most powerful chiefs 
in the district. His residence lies on the right bank 
of the Uelle, six hours by boat from the junction 
of the Uelle and the Mbomu. Galagwa is the chief 
of the Biras, a Yakoma sub-tribe, and his kingdom 
is densely populated. His palace shows signs of his 
intercourse with Europeans, being built in the 
European style, as are also most of the surrounding 
houses. Only in the village, Prekisa, did I see the 
original Yakoma round huts. The palace was not 
the best possible place for prosecuting my ethno- 
logical studies, for in place of the native shelf I found 
a luxurious bed with a mosquito net ; iron chests 
replaced the usual wicker baskets and hide boxes, 
and the sultan reclined in a long deck-chair instead 
of sitting on a native stool. A bodyguard of soldiers 
kept watch over the safety of the ruler and the 
security of the prisoners. Galagwa is a friendly man 
of about forty, with a long black beard, and of middle 
height. He gave me a good many native implements 
for my collection, and showed me the iron mine and 
smelting works. 

On the right bank of the Uelle, south-east of the 
Biras, live the Gembeles and their chief, Kassambua, 
and opposite them on the left bank are the Zambas 
with their wealthy chief, Kadjema, who shortly after 
my visit was murdered by his own son. In his terri- 
tory there are large herds of elephants, and many 
chimpanzees, a few of which have been tamed, and 
run about freely. 


On my return to Yakoma I again met Lieutenant 
Scharf, who had been making an excursion to Banzy- 
ville, and who was now ready to accompany me to 

We accomplished the journey partly by boat (illus. 
177), partly by land with bearers. Twice we had 
to cross the Bili River and then after a seven hours' 
march we at last reached the comparatively large 
station of Monga. At one place we found the ground 
covered with millions of centipedes, which had driven 
the natives from their villages. The Governor of 
Monga is an old cavalry sub-officer, and he has made 
for himself a steeplechase course, on which he rides 
his pony every day. The number of india-rubber 
trees in the neighbourhood is estimated at 50,000. 
The houses inhabited by the Europeans and soldiers 
are close to the Bili River, about a hundred yards 
from the rapids. 

On the 15th of April Lieutenant Scharf returned 
to Yakoma. After two long tiring days' march I 
reached Bangassu, the seat of the French Govern- 
ment, where I was most kindly received by the dis- 
trict Governor, Captain Saludo. I am sorry to say 
this gallant officer died a few months later of black- 
water fever. I shall always retain a grateful and 
friendly recollection of his kindness. 



The sultanate of Bangassu, which I reached about 
the middle of April, had for me the special attraction 
of being almost unexplored country. 

The only information that I had been able to obtain 
concerning this district was a short account included 
in the yearly official report of the French Govern- 
ment, and a brief description of the Nsakkara tribe, 
published by a member of the French expedition to 
the Upper Ubangi in the years 1893 to 1895. The 
explorer, Junker, and Professor Schweinfurth, who 
have written a very clear account of the Niam-Niam, 
or Asande, district, never penetrated as far east as 
Bangassu. So that I found plenty of scope for work 
in every direction, and I only regretted not being 
able to spend more time in this interesting country. 

I decided to spend three weeks in Bangassu, the 
capital of the whole French Mbomu district, which 
stretches as far as the Bahr-el-Ghazal frontier. I 
met with the most friendly reception in Government 
House, which comprises the residences of the com- 
mandant, the doctor, and the officers, as well as some 
warehouses, and huts for the soldiers. 

I was glad to be able to replenish my exhausted 
stores at the Bangassu Company's factory, which had 
been made a depot for the greater part of the baggage 
belonging to our expedition. Unfortunately on the 



march, many of the loads had been ruined by the 
damp, and many had been stolen by the natives. So 
that a large number of cases, for the carriage of 
which we had been obliged to pay heavily, had to be 
set on one side as useless. I despatched some cases 
of provisions to Dr Schubotz, who proposed to travel 
from Yakoma along the Uelle River to the Nile, and 
the rest I reserved for my own journey east. 

The Company of the Upper Ubangi Sultanate, 
whose sphere of activity extends as far as the frontier 
of the Anglo-Egyptian Soudan, apparently possesses 
the sole rights of buying india-rubber and ivory in 
this district. But a clause in a former agreement 
concluded with the Government was the subject of 
much heart-burning on the part of the directors. 
This clause stipulated that the ground for eighty feet 
on both sides of any river was not to be included in 
the concession district. The various free-traders 
took advantage of this to carry on their business in 
the Company's district. They simply assumed that 
all the india-rubber that they purchased from the 
natives came from trees growing close to the river, 
and that all the ivory offered to them by the negroes 
was obtained from elephants killed within eighty feet 
of the river. It was not an easy matter for the Com- 
pany to prove that this was not the case. In con- 
sequence of these continual disputes, an action was 
being brought by the Company against the free- 
traders of the Mbomu district, but as there was no 
court of justice nearer than Brazzaville, they could 
not expect to secure a verdict for a long time. Mean- 
while, though their profits were sensibly decreased, 
they were powerless to check the depredations of 
the traders. And since the latter paid better prices 


than the agents of the Company, the natives natur- 
ally preferred to bring their wares to the highest 

Sultan Bangassu, whose palace was about twenty 
minutes' walk from the factory, paid little heed to 
the complaints of the Company's agents, and his 
sympathies seemed to incline rather to the free- 
traders. Both he and his court were not, however, 
disposed to be particularly friendly with any Euro- 
peans, whether they were merchants or Government 
officials. I obtained most of my information re- 
specting the country and its inhabitants not from 
the sultan, but from the subordinate chiefs, one of 
whom named Sain was of great service to me. Sain 
was a half-breed Arab from Witu on the East African 
Coast, who had come into the Congo State at the 
time of the great slave hunts, and had finally settled 
in Bangassu, and had won the confidence of the 
sultan. Consequently he was familiar with the manners 
and customs of the Nsakkaras, and with the consti- 
tution of the sultanate. 

The political boundaries of the sultanate of Ban- 
gassu coincide at the present time with the geographical 
expansion of the Nsakkaras. (Illus. 178 to 180, 202.) 
This tribe dwells on both banks of the Mbari River, 
and their territory is bounded on the west by the 
Kotto River, on the east by the Chinko, and on the 
north by the sixth latitude. This is not, however, 
their original home ; about a hundred years ago, 
under Sultan Beringa, they came over the Uelle from 
the south, and after crossing the Mbomu, they drove 
the Patris and the various Banda tribes (Vidris, 
Wanas, Wundus, and Yunguras) towards the north. 
At a still more remote period they are said to have 


migrated to the Uelle from Bahr-el-Ghazal, that is 
to say, from the north-east. 

At the present time Sultan Labassu (i.e. the man 
of war), a son of Sultan Bangassu, rules over the 
Nsakkaras. The French Government merely exer- 
cises a protectorate, and leaves the sultan to rule 
his kingdom in an autocratic manner. At the time 
of my visit Labassu was waging war on his uncle 
Wando, who had defied his authority. There is also 
a yearly war with the Bubu tribe west of the Kotto, 
ostensibly to avenge the murder of Labassu's grand- 
father by the Bubus, but really in order to procure 
fresh slaves, and also human victims to satisfy their 
cannibal instincts. 

Labassu's residence, which I visited every day, com- 
prises about five hundred round huts guarded by 
sentries. Most of the inmates belong to the sultan's 
harem, for he has married about twelve hundred wives 
belonging to many different tribes. The Nsakkaras 
get their livelihood by means of agriculture and 
hunting. In spite of the healthy climate, there are 
no cattle except at the French station, and only a 
few sheep and fowls. Tsetse flies are almost un- 
known. There have been no cases of sleeping-sick- 
ness, but on the other hand leprosy and elephantiasis 
are common among both sexes. These two diseases 
are partly responsible for the slow increase in the 
population, but the principal cause is cannibalism, 
which requires numerous sacrifices every year, so 
that the most trivial offences are punishable with 
death, the victims being killed and eaten. Rich 
people can buy a pardon, and so this barbarous custom 
takes its toll chiefly from the slaves and women. 
When a free-born native dies many slaves are sacri- 

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172. Mademoiselle Mobaye in the bath. 

73. Yakoma men. 


need, the number varying with the rank of the 

The sultan and his subordinate sultans take most 
of the women for themselves, so that the remaining 
men have not many opportunities of marrying. Ille- 
gitimate children are killed, together with the mother 
and father, if the rightful husband so desires. 

When a free man dies his favourite wives are 
strangled and buried with him. Many wives and 
slaves commit suicide as soon as they see that their 
lord and master is at the point of death. On the 
death of a free woman several slave girls are buried 
in her grave, whatever the rank of her husband. 
Only slaves or prisoners are buried alone. I have 
often asked what will happen when Sultan Labassu 
himself dies. Will all his twelve hundred wives be 
strangled and buried with him, and the same number 
of slaves be sacrificed ? Surely that would be too 
sanguinary a funeral, and would hardly be permitted 
by the French authorities. The answer I received 
was that the sultan's death would be kept secret, 
and his body conveyed to the interior, so that the 
ceremonies due to the dead sovereign could be carried 
out without let or hindrance. All the wives would 
not necessarily be sacrificed, only those who had been 
his favourites. 

Under such appalling circumstances it is hardly 
to be wondered at that the Nsakkaras do not increase 
in numbers, but it is strange that these children of 
nature should do more to destroy life than to pro- 
long it. Of course the French Government does 
its best to stamp out these dreadful practices, but 
with little success excepting close to the river, where 
European influence is paramount. The sultan him- 


self places every possible obstacle in the way of 
progress, for he is strongly opposed to all innovations. 

The religion of these heathen Nsakkaras does not 
in any way restrain them from this sacrifice of human 
life, but on the contrary it even requires it. Moslem 
influence is very slight, for the conquests of the Mahdi 
and the Kalifa have not extended so far south. Chris- 
tian missions would be quite useless until the Govern- 
ment is prepared to adopt new methods of protection 
and support. And so the Nsakkaras adhere for the 
most part to their ancestral religion, with respect to 
which I obtained the following data : — 

The Nsakkaras believe in the existence of a higher, 
mysterious being called Zegi, who produces thunder 
and lightning ; but they do not worship him. They 
do not believe in retribution in another life, nor in 
the survival of the soul after death. They fear and 
venerate their sultan, and they also practise a special 
worship of ancestors known as bassina. They believe 
that a man's ancestors from his grandfather upwards, 
exercise an evil influence on his life, and can bring 
about illness or even death unless they are propitiated 
by regular offerings. These take the form of food 
and drink, antelope horns, or the heart and head of 
enemies killed in battle. Nearly every family circle 
has its own bassina house where offerings are de- 
posited, each ancestor having his own particular 
place for receiving them. The principal bassina 
offerings are brought every year after the harvest. 
At the same time everybody indulges in a bath, and 
all old clothes are destroyed and replaced by new ones. 
Absolute sobriety is enforced for several days, but 
as soon as the new moon appears the ceremonies are 
at an end, and are succeeded by wild orgies. When- 


ever a house is finished, it is usual to make rich offer- 
ings to the owner's ancestors. 

The " Bengi men " have unlimited influence both 
in the sultan's court, and throughout the kingdom, 
for to them are entrusted the functions of magis- 
trates. When a native is accused of a misdemeanour, 
his guilt or innocence is established by means of the 
poisoned Bengi drink. If he falls down unconscious, 
he is held to be guilty, and unless his relatives can 
pay a considerable sum as a ransom, he is put to death. 
The Bengi man can, of course, influence the verdict 
by making the draught more or less poisonous. In 
this way hundreds of men are sacrificed every year. 
For a more trivial fault the prisoner is punished by 
the loss of the whole or part of his possessions, which 
are confiscated by the sultan ; if he is destitute, he 
is condemned to a kind of penal servitude. A thief 
is always punished by having his ears cut off. 

The Nsakkaras are very liberal in their choice of 
wives, and only the nearest relationship is considered 
an impediment to marriage. Often a man marries 
his niece, and women captured in war, or taken in 
exchange, are adopted as wives. Marriage is a 
mere matter of business, and a man's wealth is esti- 
mated by the number of his wives, whose price varies 
not only with the rank of the buyer, but also with 
that of the father-in-law. After marriage a woman 
is kept very strictly, but so long as she is a spinster 
she is allowed considerable liberty. 

Besides attending to the house and looking after 
their children, the women occupy themselves in mak- 
ing pottery, and are seldom to be seen working in the 
fields. The men make baskets, mats, sails, and nets, 
besides working iron and carving ivory. (Illus. 181 


to 201.) In the dry season they go hunting. The 
great men of the land of course do no work. 

The Nsakkara language is similar to those spoken 
in the Soudan, but bears no resemblance to the lan- 
guages of the neighbouring tribes. 

Considering that these people are cannibals, it 
may be wondered how I was able to pass through 
the country in safety. Why did I not fall a victim 
to cannibalism ? I can only state that I was never 
molested in any way. The people in this district 
were not particularly friendly, but in their own in- 
terest they did all they could to further my progress, 
their chief desire being to be rid of me, and to send 
me on to the next village. As a matter of fact they 
are not anxious to kill and eat every stranger, and 
they resort to cannibalism only on stated occasions : 
as a punishment, at funerals, in war, and in connec- 
tion with certain religious ceremonies. 

The Nsakkaras know very well that the Govern- 
ment would take steps to punish them if they were 
to attack a European. Why should they therefore 
go in search of trouble, when there are plenty of 
people available whom they can sacrifice with impunity ? 
But if a European were to fall into their hands on 
the occasion of the death of a sultan, or some similar 
function, far away from the main road, he would 
run a very serious risk of being assimilated by a 

European trade is almost entirely confined to the 
Ubangi and Mbomu Rivers, and it is only on rare 
occasions that a Company's agent penetrates into 
the interior in search of india-rubber or ivory. A 
few months before my arrival the Government sent 
an expedition into the country north of Bangassu 

Nsakara woman of the Court of Sultan Bangassu 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims 


and Rafai, Captain Jaquiers, the Commandant of 
Mobaye, and Lieutenant Martin having undertaken 
to explore this part. 

As a proof of my assertion that the Nsakkaras do 
not kill and eat every European they come across, 
but on the contrary have been known to go out of 
their way to render him assistance, I will here relate 
an adventure of Lieutenant Martin's, which is pro- 
bably the most terrible that has ever befallen anyone. 

Martin had started on the above-mentioned ex- 
pedition, in company with Captain Jaquiers. One 
morning whilst they were camping in the bush, they 
wanted some game for dinner, and Martin accordingly 
set off with his " boy," with only five cartridges in 
his pocket. 

At about noon, having shot a buck, he started to 
return to camp. He missed his way, and lost his boy, 
but presently came across two of his men, who were 
looking for fruit. One of them undertook to guide 
him back to camp ; but he, too, lost his way, and by 
evening was obliged to confess that he had no idea 
in which direction the camp lay. Martin fired off 
his last cartridge as a signal to his friend. 

The next morning a search party was organised 
from Jaquier's camp, but no trace of the missing men 
could be found. This was likewise the case on the 
following days. Meanwhile Martin was wandering 
about in the bush with his one companion, and did 
not meet a single human being. Both were exhausted 
with hunger and fatigue, having had nothing to eat 
but a few berries. On the fifth day the negro col- 
lapsed on to the ground, and refused to go any further. 
Even the dread of the vultures that hovered over his 
head failed to induce him to make another effort. 


He died on the sixth day, and Martin proceeded 

His strength was failing, and as he could no longer 
carry his gun, he threw it away. He had no knife, and 
a box of matches was his only protection, enabling 
him to light a fire every night in order to keep 
off wild beasts. The fear of letting the fire out and 
of being attacked prevented him from sleeping. A 
herd of baboons, evidently discovering that he was 
defenceless, attacked him, but he succeeded in driv- 
ing them off with burning sticks. On another 
occasion an elephant forced him to take refuge in a 
tree, and when one evening some crocodiles lay down 
before the entrance of the cave in which he had sought 
shelter, he fled into its darkest recess, where he was 
almost choked by the smoke from his fire. On the 
seventh day he consumed his last fruit, and from that 
time onwards he had nothing to satisfy his hunger 
but water, which was fortunately abundant. He 
stumbled along with wounded and painful legs, and 
torn shoes, tormented by flies which settled on his 
sores. In spite of the burning heat, he pressed on 
through the long grass, along the river bank, always 
hoping to reach a familiar district. He persevered 
bravely notwithstanding the cravings of hunger and 
the constant fear of death. On the tenth day he 
fainted several times. On the eleventh day after 
painfully and laboriously swimming a river, holding 
over his head his precious matchbox which still con- 
tained seven matches, he fell down unconscious. 

When he came to himself, he was in a native hut, 
lying on a wooden bed, and surrounded by whisper- 
ing negroes. A woman had found him as she was 
fetching water from the river, and had brought the 


news of his plight to the village. The natives had 
conveyed him to one of their huts, and had cared 
for him to the best of their ability. They could easily 
have killed him in his exhausted condition, but in- 
stead of that, they nursed him back to life, and when 
he had sufficiently recovered, they escorted him back 
to the Ubangi. 

Travellers who are apt to wander carelessly in the 
bush, leaving their camp without a reliable guide, 
should take warning from this terrible adventure. 
The country is so monotonous that it is very easy to 
lose the way, and in the majority of cases the result 
would be a miserable death from exposure, starva- 
tion, or wild beasts. The sun sets rapidly soon after 
six o'clock, and then it is impossible for anyone but 
a native of the district to find his way. No one should 
ever leave camp, even for a few minutes, unless 
accompanied by a competent guide. 

I would gladly have spent some weeks longer in the 
sultanate of Bangassu, but my time was limited, and 
on the 5th of May I started in four canoes on my 
journey up the Mbomu. The scenery was charming, 
for the river was bordered by beautiful woods, but 
unfortunately violent daily tornadoes and thunder- 
storms somewhat marred my enjoyment. The 
water had risen considerably, so that we passed 
the various rapids without difficulty. (Illus. 203.) 
I often admired the skilful way in which the natives 
negotiated these obstacles, and I always felt relieved 
when the boat was safely at the top. Every year 
a large number of men, boats, and loads are lost in 
the rapids, of which the most formidable are the Mama- 
tingo Rapids, which the French have named " Rapides 
de silence." The natives believe that Mamatingo, 


the savage river mother, inhabits the rocks near by, and 
tries with all her might to draw down the boats and 
their contents. The only way to come safely through 
is to remain perfectly silent, without smoking, and 
to throw a handful of rice or flour on to the rocks. 

The boatmen do not like conveying Europeans up 
these rapids, so I was enticed out of the canoe on the 
pretext that game was plentiful on the banks. I 
walked for a mile or two beside the river, and shot 
two antelopes, whilst my boats came through in 
safety, unmolested by Mamatingo. 

I was naturally anxious to learn more about Mama- 
tingo, and in answer to my questions I was told that 
she had wrecked a great many boats, and caused 
many people, both natives and Europeans, to lose 
their lives in the rapids. She was supposed to be a 
mysterious creature, with the head of a man, and the 
tail of a fish, and she had always to be appeased with 
offerings for the reception of which large baskets 
were suspended from the branches overhanging the 

When I tried to convince the natives that the un- 
fortunate people who had lost their lives had been 
drowned in the stream, and eaten by the numerous 
crocodiles, they assured me that there were creatures 
resembling the Mamatingo in many parts of the Ubangi, 
and that they were called mamaemi. All the natives 
persisted that this story was correct, and that the 
creatures could be heard howling at night. It was 
strictly forbidden to kill them, on pain of death, and 
my offer of a large reward to any one who would bring 
me a mamaemi was fruitless. Perhaps it was a kind 
of seal, such as Vogel observed in the rivers of Lake 
Tchad, and Schweinfurth described in the east of the 

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176. Yakoma spears. 


Asande district. The dangerous character of this 
animal exists, of course, only in the imagination of 
the natives. 

The banks of the river are very sparsely inhabited 
during the rainy season on account of the floods, which 
oblige the people to build their huts further inland. 
The bushes growing on the banks are moreover in- 
fested by dangerous flies, amongst which I observed 
the common tsetse, as well as the sleeping-sickness 
mosquito. At Ganapia I was obliged to change 
boats as well as boatmen, as the rapids of Gufuru 
are not navigable. Within a short distance of Gana- 
pia the Mbomu divides into two parts which reunite 
five hours further up. The island of Gufuru which 
is thus formed is, according to the natives, the home 
of a small kind of tuskless elephant. These dwarf 
elephants are said to inhabit the marshes and woods 
of the island, and consequently to be difficult to find. 
They cannot be the result of in-breeding, for during 
the dry season the animals can easily reach the country 
south of the Mbomu. Unfortunately I was prevented 
by the rain from investigating the matter further. 
I here learned an interesting fact with reference to 
the travels of birds of passage. To the north-east 
of Ganapia the natives had killed a large stork bear- 
ing on its leg a silver ring with the inscription : 
" Rositten aviary, Germania, 1910." Unfortunately 
I did not succeed in obtaining the ring, as the French 
authorities proposed to send it to Paris. 

On the 12th of May, after passing several rapids, I 
at last reached the junction of the Chinko and the 
Mbomu. I journeyed six hours up the Chinko, and 
towards evening arrived at the Government station, 
Rafai, which is built on a hill not far from the river. 


Lieutenant Gillette was in command. I also found 
in Rafai the head office of the Company of the Upper 
Ubangi Sultanate, whose manager, Mr Burgess, was 
of the greatest assistance to me. Here, too, was the 
residence of Sultan Hetman, the second of the great 
sultans of the Mbomu district whom I had planned 
to visit. I was now in the country of the Asandes 
or Niam-Niams, the most dangerous cannibals in 
Central Africa. 

I will describe in a few words my experiences in 
Rafai, and it will be observed that I might have 
imagined myself in the negro Republic of Liberia, rather 
than as the guest of a cannibal chief in Central Africa. 
I must, however, begin by explaining that the majority 
of the inhabitants of the sultanate of Rafai are not 
Asandes, but members of subject tribes such as the 
Biris, Ngabus, Nsakkaras, and various Banda tribes. 
The population of the sultanate is about 23,000, 
comprising : — 

Asandes . 

. about 4500 


„ 4500 


„ 3000 


„ 2000 


„ 3500 

Various Bandas . 

„ 5500 

5000 of whom are men, 6000 women, 5500 boys, and 
6500 girls. About 3500 men are armed with muzzle- 
loaders of various patterns. The Asandes have married 
wives belonging to subject tribes, so that the purity 
of the race has suffered, and the sultanate of Rafai is 
not the best place for studying this cannibal tribe. 

Sultan Hetman, the son of Rafai, has acquired 
European ideas and tastes. (Illus. 204.) He speaks 


fluent French, wears a European uniform, and 
proudly displays upon his breast the order of the 
Black Star of Benin. He has been to the coast and 
has inspected the large European liners, with all their 
up-to-date appliances. He lives in a house built in the 
European style, with European furniture, a European 
kitchen and cellar, and he invites Europeans to dinner. 
For the instruction of his own children, and those 
of the subordinate chiefs, he has instituted a school, 
in which among other subjects French is taught. He 
recognises the fact that the manners and customs of 
the Asandes are barbarous, and is doing his best to 
have them abolished. He takes a great interest in 
everything European, but his memory fails him 
whenever he is questioned concerning the history 
of his country, the religion of the Asandes, their 
manners and customs, etc. It is very praiseworthy 
that he should be so strongly in favour of progress, 
and his friendship towards Europeans renders him 
a very convenient ruler from the French point of 
view, but from the ethnological standpoint, I was 
much disappointed to find such a modernised sultan 
in Central Africa. 

Hetman uses his power in the service of the French, 
and is exceedingly polite towards all Europeans. But 
he cannot help realising that the European white- 
wash of his fellow-countrymen is very superficial, 
and that outside his palace the old customs are still 

Although the negroes wear European dress, their 
desire for human flesh is by no means extinct. The 
ancient fighting savages who were armed with spears 
and bows and arrows, and were either naked or else 
scantily clothed in skins, have been converted into 


Hetman's modern soldiers, armed with rifles. Their 
uniforms are fantastic, for everyone wears what he 
likes, so that they include French uniforms, white 
coats, khaki uniforms, blouses and trousers of various 
colours, just as in Liberia. A band (illus. 205), an 
old cannon, and flags of all colours, some bearing in- 
scriptions in Arabic, form part of the military equip- 
ment. The soldiers are drilled every day, and a body- 
guard surrounds the palace, saluting the sultan when- 
ever he passes. Often he sits on horseback and inspects 
his troops, reminding one of a child playing at soldiers. 
(Illus. 206.) 

I had announced my intention of waiting on the 
sultan, and accordingly on the 14th of May I repaired 
to the palace, followed by servants bearing my gifts. 
I had chosen the latter with a view to gratifying Het- 
man's progressive tastes, and they included a bridle 
with silver mountings, a blue and red saddle-cloth, 
a naval sword, khaki riding-breeches, as well as silks, 
satins, and brocades for his wives. He received me 
at the head of his troops, and expressed his delight 
when I presented my gifts. I took some photo- 
graphs, suffered my ears to be tortured by his 
orchestra, and then accompanied him into the palace, 
where I was offered some French sparkling wine. He 
presented me to his wives, and to a number of mulatto 
children, some of whom were quite attractive. In 
return for my gifts I begged for some native objects 
for my collection. He found some difficulty in com- 
plying with my request, as these things had all been 
done away with, but a few days later he sent me all 
that he could find. 

From Rafai I marched back to the Mbomu River, 
and arrived at Kumbu. On the way I passed through 

















the village of the chief Sandu, who is an uncle of Het- 
man. This elderly gentleman remembered the days 
of fighting and slave-hunting ; he was conversant 
with all the ancient customs of the people, and did 
not disavow them like his up-to-date nephew. Het- 
man valued his uncle's advice, and handed over to 
him any unruly subjects for judgment, which was 
administered in the old-fashioned way behind the 
shelter of his zariba. This was extremely convenient 
for the progressive sultan, for he need not know what 
went on in Sandu 's village, or at any rate he declined 
to know. 

Near Kumbu the river is not navigable on account 
of impassable rapids, so we marched along the bank 
of the Mbomu as far as Bagesse, and there resumed 
our boats. The rain poured down daily in torrents, 
causing the river to rise steadily, and it was not easy 
to find suitable landing places. 

My hunting expeditions were not very successful : 
I came across very few antelopes, hardly any monkeys, 
and no guinea-fowls. There were, however, a great 
many hippopotami and crocodiles in the Mbomu and 
all its tributaries. Apart from the village of Ali at 
the mouth of the Warra, where I arrived on the fifth 
day after leaving Rafai, I found no large villages 
along the river banks, only a few isolated Akare 
huts. One reason for the scanty population was the 
presence of innumerable stinging flies, which made 
life almost unendurable. I was surprised to find 
that, although there were plenty of fish in the river, 
the natives in this district do not take the trouble to 
catch them, and possess hardly any boats. I came 
across many cases of disease among the scattered 
inhabitants, chiefly leprosy and elephantiasis. The 


chief, Mome, resided in the village of Ali ; he was a 
brother of Hetman, and imitated as far as possible 
the European habits of the sultan's court at Rafai. 

After leaving Ali, I encamped in an Akara hamlet 
composed of four huts ; the natives produced quanti- 
ties of roasted white ants, and offered them as a special 
treat to my boatmen. The same evening a quantity 
of winged ants fluttered round my lamp, and attracted 
some little negro boys, who caught them in their hands, 
and swallowed them alive with great enjoyment. 

On the 26th of May I organised a hunting expedi- 
tion near the place where the Dume flows into the 
Mbomu. I succeeded in catching a baby hippopotamus, 
whose mother had several times attacked my boat, 
and whom I eventually killed. For several days 
this baby was a great source of pleasure to me ; I 
used to take it with me in the boat, and chain it 
up at night within reach of the river. It absorbed a 
large number of bottles of condensed milk, but un- 
fortunately in a short time it rejoined its hippopo- 
tamus ancestors in another world. 

On the afternoon of the 26th I was stalking 
elephants on the right bank of the Dume, when I 
caught sight of a huge crocodile basking in the sun 
on the sand. I killed it, but the sound of my gun 
frightened away a herd of elephants which had been 
bathing, unseen by me, in a neighbouring creek. 

Much annoyed at this contretemps, I was about 
to swim the river which was here about twenty-five 
yards wide, but was dissuaded by my guides, who 
warned me that the river was swarming with croco- 
diles. So I returned to camp, took a boat, and rowed 
up the Dume to a point whence I could follow up 
the elephant spoor. We waded through an evil- 


smelling swamp, forcing our way through the reeds, 
with the water up to our chests. Then we came to 
a flooded meadow, where we roused a crocodile, which 
proceeded to attack my guide, who yelled as if he 
were being murdered, and struck at the crocodile 
with his spear. The animal took to flight, nearly 
knocking me down on the way. But the cries of my 
guide caused the elephants to stampede, and it was 
only by standing on his shoulders that I could get 
a shot at them. I wounded a large elephant twice, 
and we followed the blood-stained track until dark- 
ness obliged us to give up the quest. We toiled 
wearily homewards through the swamp, and at last 
found our boat. Amid torrents of rain, and in pitch 
darkness, we rowed down stream to camp with hippo- 
potami grunting all around us. 

After crossing the Warra River, I found myself 
in the third sultanate, that is to say in Semio's country, 
and on the 31st of May I reached his palace. 



On my arrival in Semio's country I remained for 
a time in the factory near the river. The French 
Government station is about ten miles further up- 
stream, and the sultan's residence is at a point about 
nine miles north of the river. Opposite the factory, 
about two miles south of the Mbomu, is the Belgian 
Congo station, Gangara, and here I made the acquaint- 
ance of Lieutenant de Roy de Wicken. He welcomed 
me in the most friendly manner, and gave me a great 
deal of information respecting the district south of 
the Mbomu. 

Unfortunately I was unable to penetrate far into the 
Belgian territory on account of the hostility of the 
Asandes. At the time of my visit, several companies 
of the " Force publique " which are Belgian colonial 
troops, were fighting Sultans Mokpoi, Linsingino, and 
Sassa, and the authorities had forbidden the garrison 
of Gangara to make excursions in the neighbour- 
hood, lest they should leave the station unprotected. 
Close to Gangara there are only a few Akare villages, 
so I hastened to pay my respects to the sultan, and 
arrived at his residence on the 3rd of June. 

After keeping me waiting some time, Sultan Semio 
Ikpiro received me in the presence of a chief and an 
interpreter, and then conducted me to a spacious 
guest-house in the first court of his zariba. 


Semio, Sultan of the Asande Avungura 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims 


The sultan is a well-built man, about 5ft. 9 in. in 
height. He is sixty-five years of age, and has a kindly 
expression. (Vide coloured illus.) At first he re- 
minded me of a self-conscious, obstinate, crafty old 
peasant, who evidently regarded me with profound 
distrust. But presently he gained confidence, and 
became more communicative. When he found that 
I wanted neither india-rubber nor ivory, and that I 
had no wish to elope with one of his wives, and when 
I had assured him, moreover, that I should soon be 
proceeding on my journey, he became more cordial, 
and promised to supply me with some ethnological 

Semio's personal appearance was a striking con- 
trast to that of the sultan of Rafai. He wore a long 
Arab dress, and his only European article of clothing 
was a large, grey, broad-brimmed, felt hat. He 
carried a long spear, leaning on it as he walked. He 
stepped quietly along, with slow, measured tread, 
and deliberate movements, reminding me of one of 
the. ancient patriarchs. When he paid me a visit, 
a low bench covered with carpet was brought in for 
his use, for he never sat on European chairs. The 
dignitaries who accompanied him either squatted on 
the ground outside the house, or sat on mats which 
they brought with them. Although Semio is not 
a genuine Moslem, he inclines rather to Arab than 
to European customs. He has an Arab fakir living 
in the palace, but he does not conform to all the pre- 
scribed daily prayers. But he has retained much 
that he learned during the years when he was a 
vassal first of the Arab slave-hunters, and later of 
the Egyptian Government. 

I offered him my gifts, which comprised Arab cloth- 


ing, bridles, hunting knives, etc., and presented the 
compliments of the Duke. He expressed his regret 
at not having the pleasure of making His Highness' 
acquaintance, and asked me many questions about 
our Kaiser. Our conversation was not very rapid, 
for the old gentleman took some time to consider 
each remark of mine before replying. 

Every day from morning till night, with an interval 
of two hours in the middle of the day, he sat patiently 
listening to my questions. But when I asked him 
about his family life, his religion, or the manners and 
customs of his subjects, he evidently distrusted my 
motives, and gave evasive replies. Nor could I in- 
duce him to give me any typical native implements 
for my collection. No one was allowed into the inner 
part of his house, which was enclosed by four stock- 
ades, and he never invited me to pay a visit to his 
wives. Peace reigned throughout the building, and 
there were so few people about that it was hard to 
realise that I was at the court of a great Central 
African potentate. I had, moreover, the feeling that 
both the sultan and his subjects were impatiently 
awaiting my departure. 

Semio assured me that I could travel unhindered 
through his country to Bahr-el-Ghazal, and that he 
had given orders that I was to be everywhere supplied 
with bearers, boats, rowers, and provisions. So I 
took leave of him with a light heart, little suspecting 
how few of his promises would be kept, and what 
difficulties I was to encounter. 

The sultan will probably not live very long, for his 
health seemed to me most precarious. After his 
death, if the French authorities carry out their pre- 
sent intention, the country will be divided up, and 

BLft dL^^ 

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179. Nsakkara men. 

1 1 

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180. Nsakkara village. 









,81—201. Ethnog 

181. Ivory trumpet. 182—85. Tobacco pipes. 186. Handbell. 187. Head-rest. 

193. Beer-filter. 194. Pincers. 195. Comb. 196, 197, 1[ 












; <££L. 

' -01 

tfs of the Nsakkara. 

Nt. 189. Knife for felling small trees. 190. Dagger. 191. Food-basket. 192. Axe. 
|99. Food-basket. 200. Tobacco-pipe. 201. Ivory armlets. 

202. Coiffures of the Nsakkara. 


it is quite possible that this policy will result in wars 
between his sons and grandsons. 

On the 14th of June I set off on foot, having sent on 
most of my baggage in two canoes. I was anxious to 
become acquainted with the Akare tribe, which for 
the last hundred and thirty years has inhabited the 
Mbomu district between Semio and Kadjema, in sub- 
jection to the Asandes. The representations of the 
French officials obtained for me from Sultan Semio 
twenty-two Akares as bearers, and his son Samuengi 
as interpreter and guide. As soon as I set eyes on 
these men my heart sank, for they were the most 
pitiable objects I have ever seen. Half -starved and 
the victims of sleeping-sickness and leprosy, they were 
certainly unfit for long marches carrying loads, and 
they were typical representatives of a subject race. 
I could not believe that the so-called omnipotent 
sultan, or even the French authorities, were unable 
to procure me better bearers. 

Out of my twenty-two Akare natives, two fell faint- 
ing by the way- side after the first mile or two ; two 
more fell ill at the first camp, and three others ran 
away into the bush, one of them taking with him a 
sack containing my bed-clothes, mosquito-net, my 
only warm coat, and sundry boots. So I had to spend 
the damp cold nights without either bed or mosquito- 
net. The country east of Semio was very sparsely 
populated, and many of the villagers, learning, by 
means of drum signals, of my approach, fled into the 
bush. It was therefore almost impossible to obtain 
bearers, and the incessant rain considerably hindered 
my progress. 

East of Zingara we had to cross a swollen river, over 
which a temporary bridge had been erected. About 


half my baggage was safely across, when the bridge 
broke in two under the weight of so many passengers. 
Several natives were seriously injured by falling into 
the raging torrent, and were incapacitated for further 
marching. Two cases containing provisions were 
lost, and a few bearers who were on the opposite bank 
took advantage of the confusion to escape further 
service by taking to their heels and disappearing in 
the long grass. It was only by taking energetic 
measures with an Asande chief in the next village 
that I succeeded, after a long delay, in procuring 
more bearers. I dragged the resisting chief along 
with me, until his son appeared with the requisite 
men and my loads. 

Finding great difficulty in obtaining provisions, 
and being heartily weary of the constant trouble with 
the bearers, on the 19th of June I decided to give up 
the idea of marching any further, and to travel from 
Gasua by boat. Owing to the numerous bends in 
the Mbomu, this took three times as long as the 
journey by land, and there was also the difficulty of 
procuring boatmen to be considered, but I was feel- 
ing wretchedly ill with fever, so that I had no choice 
in the matter. There were very few villages on the 
river banks, owing to the yearly floods, and the 
task of feeding my twelve boatmen was not an easy 
one. Hunting was my chief resource, and I shot 
several water-bucks, and "black-heeled" antelopes. 
One day I killed a large crocodile sixteen feet long, 
in whose stomach we found an antelope about the 
size of a full-grown goat, with head and horns intact. 
Sleeping - sickness mosquitoes (Glossina palpalis) 
swarmed on the banks of the Mbomu, which was here 
only about a hundred and twenty feet wide. 


204. Sultan Hetman of Rafai. 


On the 26th of June I at last arrived at Kadjema, 
which is the residence of the chief Kasimma, or 
Kadjema, one of the sons of Semio Ikpiro. Immedi- 
ately to the west of Kadjema the Mboku River, 
coming from the north-east, flows into the Mbomu. 
It is eight days' march from here to Gubere, and four- 
teen to the Bahr-el-Ghazal frontier, whereas by boat 
it takes fourteen days to reach Gubere. So I deter- 
mined to travel by land, and after a brief rest at Kad- 
jema in order to procure the necessary bearers, I set 
off with thirty-five men, and followed the course of 
the Mboku. 

I now entered the land of the Bassiris, or Seres, who, 
until a hundred and thirty years ago, inhabited the 
country between the Mboku and Warra Rivers, under 
independent chiefs of their own, but who are now sub- 
ject to the Asandes. Any natives who had not fled into 
the bush were very timid, and I found great difficulty 
in procuring bearers and provisions. The country was 
sparsely wooded, and the long grass, which was about 
thirteen feet high, rendered our progress extremely 
slow. Recent elephant and buffalo spoors frequently 
crossed the path, and although we often heard the 
animals close at hand, it was impossible to shoot them. 

On the 30th of June I heard drums beating a short 
distance ahead in the bush, and concluded that we 
were approaching a village. But my guide explained 
that the noise was due to chimpanzees beating drums 
made of hollow tree-trunks. I crept cautiously about 
half a mile through the dense brushwood, and at last 
caught sight of a herd of chimpanzees. They did 
not seem pleased at my appearance, for they climbed 
the tallest trees, and sat screaming and howling in 
the branches. Unfortunately it was too dark to 


take photographs, but I stood for some time watch- 
ing this entertaining spectacle. Finally I shot a 
huge, powerful fellow, who threatened to attack 
me. (Illus. 208.) The following measurements will 
show what a giant he was : — 

Height from top of skull to sole 

of foot . . . . 5 ft. 1 in. 

Chest circumference during ex- 
piration . . . . . 33 in. 

Abdominal circumference . . 28 in. 

Width of thigh . . . . 18 in. 

Maximum length of skull . . 8 in. 

„ width „ . . . 5| in. 

In spite of the pouring rain, I started again on the 
1st of July and came across so many elephant spoors 
that I decided to organise a hunt. I had the good 
fortune to shoot a large bull elephant. He was stand- 
ing on the further bank of the raging Mboku, so that 
the only thing to do was to strap my gun to my 
shoulders, and swim across the river, taking my 
chance of crocodiles. I was rewarded by getting 
within ten yards of the elephant, and killing him with 
two well-aimed bullets. On my return to camp I 
sent my bearers to fetch some of the meat, which 
was a welcome addition to their meagre fare. They 
brought back a large supply, with which they gorged 
themselves, and then decamped during the night. 
This was an unpleasant surprise for me the following 
morning, for even the escort of soldiers had run away. 
So I sat in the bush with my " boys," two French 
sharp-shooters, and Semio's son, but not one bearer ! 
I sent my soldiers to search the neighbouring villages, 
but they returned empty-handed. I was more for- 
tunate, for I guessed that the natives would not be 

ff f 1 ' 

i ■ ■ ■ 


/ %£jfff Si w 

205. Sultan Hetman's band. 

206. Prisoners in Rafai. 

O oi 

.2 x 


able to resist the attraction of my dead elephant. 
They are passionately fond of elephant's flesh, even 
when it is so high that it can be smelt a mile away 
against the wind. I crept with my " boys " to the 
place where I had left the carcase, and seized hold 
of six natives, whilst the remainder escaped into the 
bush. I fastened my six prisoners with one rope, 
and started the following morning, leaving six of my 
loads behind. Seven hours later I reached a village 
where Guberes' mother, one of Semio's wives, lived ; 
she undertook to send men to fetch my missing loads. 
Meanwhile I had to sleep without a tent, in a wretched 
straw hut. 

As there was no sign of my loads, I set out for 
Gubere, which was two days' journey off. These 
days of travelling in torrents of rain, without a tent, 
without proper food, and without even a change of 
clothing, were the most unpleasant that I ever re- 
member. I made up my mind that as soon as I had 
recovered my possessions, I would leave this inhospi- 
table country as rapidly as possible, and hurry on to 
the English colony of Bahr-el-Ghazal. 

In Gubere I met two Englishmen, Mr Howitt and 
Mr Vincent, and also an Austrian named Schin- 
deler. All three gentlemen had come from Uganda 
with forty-five Waniamwesi bearers, intending to 
hunt elephants in the sultanate of Semio. Elephant 
hunting is possible only in French territory, for the 
French ignore all international laws for preserving 
game in Africa. In other colonies a European must 
pay £50 for a hunting licence, which allows him to 
kill only two male elephants, whereas among the 
French the licence costs 6 francs, and permits the 
purchaser to shoot an unlimited number. I recollect 


that Monsieur Coquelin killed 106 elephants within 
a few months in the neighbourhood of Fort de Possel, 
and was hinself killed by the 107th. But the three 
above-mentioned gentlemen had reckoned without 
their host, for the agents of a French Company pos- 
sessing the sole india-rubber and ivory rights in this 
district, energetically vetoed their hunting. So they 
had to take themselves off minus the minimum of 
two hundred elephants which they had announced 
their intention of shooting. 

People have very mistaken ideas respecting the 
number of elephants to be found in these parts. 
Formerly there were, it is true, large herds in the Mbomu 
district. But the avarice of both Arabs and Euro- 
peans has resulted in the destruction of vast numbers 
of these animals every year. Last summer ninety- 
one elephants were killed in one day near Gasua, and 
thirty- seven on another occasion in the neighbour- 
hood of Gubere. At this rate the elephants will soon 
be entirely exterminated. 

The same may be said of india-rubber. The trees 
are cut about in the most senseless way, and new 
ones are hardly ever planted. The Company direc- 
tors are perfectly satisfied so long as they get large 
temporary dividends, and the agents care for 
nothing but their commission, and no one takes the 
trouble to enquire whether there will be any india- 
rubber or ivory left in the years to come. The scanty 
population is idle and afflicted with serious maladies 
such as leprosy, sleeping-sickness, and elephantiasis, 
and it would be well for the French to consider 
what they propose to do with the country in the 

On the 8th of July, after sending several men in 











search of them, I at length recovered the loads that 
I had been forced to leave behind. They were in a 
miserable condition, having been soaked with water, 
and pilfered by the natives. The beautiful skin of 
the huge chimpanzee was almost completely ruined 
by the wet, and a whole case containing ethnological 
specimens had disappeared. 

In Gubere I again experienced great difficulty in 
procuring bearers, but the threat (which I could not 
have carried out) of kidnapping the chief and con- 
veying him to the French station a hundred and 
twenty-five miles further on, brought me fifty men. 

On the 9th of July I started on the march to the 
Bahr-el-Ghazal frontier, strictly watching the bearers 
during the journey, and locking them up in their huts 
at night. All the villagers fled at my approach, for 
fear of being pressed into my service. The last Euro- 
pean to visit this country was Marchand on his way 
to Fashoda, fifteen years ago. 

On the way a very unfortunate accident befell me. 
In crossing a raging torrent, I slipped off the plank 
bridge, fell into the water, and lost my sun helmet. 
Before I could recover it, I got a severe sun-stroke, 
which manifested itself in fainting fits, a rash, fever, 
giddiness, and pains in all my limbs. In two days 
I had sufficiently recovered to be able to proceed, 
which was becoming very necessary, as my party 
of sixty had nothing to eat. 

Between Mafi and Amet I came upon fresh elephant 
spoors, which I followed for three hours, and at 
last succeeded in shooting a bull. The meat was 
very welcome for my bearers, food being scarce. On 
my way back to camp I encountered a large herd of 
buffaloes, bellowing all around me in the long grass. 


My guide begged me not to shoot, and climbed into 
a tree, imploring me to do the same. As I could not 
see to shoot through the grass, I climbed up after him, 
just as a powerful bull charged down upon us, and 
butted the trunk of the tree in which we had taken 
refuge. I fired, and the rest of the herd stampeded. 
Two animals, as well as our first antagonist, remained 
until a second shot drove them away after the wounded 
bull. We remained for some time in our tree, and 
then crept off home. When I returned the following 
morning, I found the dead buffalo not far from the 
tree into which we had climbed. This shows that 
buffalo hunting, especially in the long grass, is no 
child's play. 

The chief Amet, Sultan Tambura's son, promised 
faithfully to supply me with new bearers and pro- 
visions. When, however, after waiting two days, 
I repaired to his village, I found the noble prince 
alone with his wives, all the men having taken them- 
selves off. I was led astray by a guide whom I forced 
into my service, and after punishing him brutally, 
I was obliged to proceed with the same Gubere 
bearers. Naturally they were not enthusiastic about 
their work, and were always on the look-out for an 
opportunity to decamp. 

I rested for a day at Boki, and sent on most of my 
men with their loads to Tambura. The few who 
remained behind with me seized the occasion to run 
away. I had sent on my soldiers ahead, and had 
let the bearers run about in freedom, trusting to the 
fact that arrears of wages were due to them, and sup- 
posing that as it was only one day's journey to Tam- 
bura, they would not want to lose their money by 
running away. Vain hope ! The foolish fellows 

210. Pambia maiden. 

211. Pambia mountains. 

212. Cavern in the Pambia mountains. 


I abandoned their claim to their wages, and I was left 
once more sitting in the bush without a bearer ! 
Fortunately two Soudanese soldiers were sent from 
Tambura to collect bearers for me in the scattered 
hamlets. Two days later they brought in seven men, 
and I journeyed to Tambura with most of my luggage. 
When the houses of the Anglo -Egyptian station, 
Tambura, came into sight, my spirits rose, and when 
Captain Stephenson, a charming English officer, wel- 
comed me in the most cordial manner, I speedily 
forgot all the troubles and hardships of the past weeks. 
To summarise my impressions regarding the three 
sultanates, I must confess that I cannot prophesy 
a very bright future for this district. 

I have never before been in any country in Africa 
where European influence was so slight, and the idle- 
ness and passive resistance of the aborigines so great 
as in the French Mbomu district. 

A further cause for anxiety is the presence of 
serious diseases, such as sleeping-sickness, leprosy, and 
elephantiasis. The natives who have survived the wars 
and slave hunts of the Arabs and Asandes, are being 
decimated by these maladies. 

The geographical situation of these districts is very 
unfavourable for their development. The sultanates 
lie in the middle of Central Africa, on a river which 
is not navigable above Yakoma. The removal of 
the rapids would be a very expensive undertaking, 
and it would be much easier to construct a railway 
along the banks of the Mbomu. 



When I arrived at the station of Tambura I had 
already crossed the watershed which divides the 
river basins of the Congo and the Nile, this being 
the frontier between the French and Anglo-Egyptian 

I spent the first few days in recovering from the 
fatigues of the past weeks, which had been exceed- 
ingly arduous. The commandant of the district, 
Captain Stephenson (called in the Egyptian service 
Bimbashi, i.e. Major) took pains to make me feel at 
home. His post in Tambura was no sinecure, for 
when he was appointed the people were quite unac- 
customed to Europeans, so that the task of procuring 
food and bearers was not an easy one. Stephenson 
was the first European commandant, his predecessor 
having been a negro officer. His staff comprised 
an Egyptian captain, an Egyptian lieutenant, a 
Soudanese lieutenant, a Syrian doctor, and fifty 
black soldiers. (Illus. 209.) The station itself was 
very primitive, being composed of grass and mud 
huts. The discipline was excellent, and the behaviour 
of the natives was much more respectful than in the 
adjoining French colony ; they fully realised that 
the Europeans had the upper hand, and when neces- 
sary would take steps to punish rebels. At the pre- 
sent time Bahr-el-Ghazal is closed to trade, and will 

214. In the high grass. 

215. Asanda with skin aprons, from Hirua's territory. 


remain so until the natives have grown accustomed 
to European rule. This prevents dividend- seeking 
india-rubber and ivory companies' agents from 
making mischief among the aborigines by their in- 
judicious conduct. There will be plenty of time 
later on for exploiting india-rubber and ivory. In 
French Congo there will soon be no elephants left, 
but in Bahr-el-Ghazal they are still very numerous. 
No hunter is allowed to kill a female elephant on pain 
of a fine of £100, and he may shoot not more then 
two male elephants after obtaining a licence costing 
£50. Naturally all the elephants from the French 
colony take refuge here. 

Tambura is called after the ruling sultan. He 
is a member of the Avungura Asande family, to which 
also belong Sultan Semio Ikpiro, and all the other 
Asande sultans of the Uelle and Mbomu districts. 
Here, too, the Asandes are the ruling race, and their 
subjects are the aborigines who owned the country 
before the advent of the Asandes, the Pambias in and 
around Tambura, the Bassiris or Seres in the West 
near Gubere, the Bellandas in the East, and the Aba- 
rambos in the North and South-west. The sultans, 
village chiefs, and under-chief s are all Asandes. 

The Pambias (illus. 210) are said to have migrated in 
ancient times from a country in West Africa inhabited 
by dwarfs, probably from the district between the 
middle Ubangi and South Cameroons. Those who have 
not adopted the Asande tongue speak a language quite 
different to that of the surrounding tribes. At first 
they settled in a mountainous district full of caves, 
and lived there for several centuries. They got their 
living by hunting, and cultivated nothing but a little 
telebun corn (a kind of grass with an edible seed). 


Their favourite food was elephant, rock-badger, white 
ants, and especially human flesh. Any member of another 
tribe who ventured too near their mountainous dwellings 
fell a victim to cannibalism. The Pambias have never 
possessed any cattle. Their weapons were bows and 
short arrows, spears, and small knives. I saw no 
shields or javelins. When they were attacked they took 
refuge in their concealed, easily defended caves. But 
they had no influential leader, no common ruling sultan, 
and they were divided into numerous little groups, 
each with its own insignificant chief. Later on it was 
therefore an easy matter for the invading Asandes to 
bring one after the other of these little tribes into 
subjection. The most important were the following : — 

The Abugba Pambias with their chief, Banginsa. 

The Avubatto Pambias with their chief, Bakkofah. 

The Avuddima Pambias with their chief. 

The Avusugbo Pambias with their chief, Garrua, and 
his son, Bandima. 

The Avumeia Pambias with their chief, Bafu. 

The Biagassa Mountain Pambias with their chief, 

When the Asandes conquered the country, the 
Pambias sank to the position of labourers. The in- 
vaders took away their land and their wives, and 
impressed their manners and customs as well as their 
language on the conquered race. Consequently the 
Pambias are being gradually absorbed by the Asandes, 
and will soon have disappeared entirely as a separate 
tribe. Even now it is extremely difficult to distinguish 
the ancient customs of the Pambias from those of the 
Asandes. Most of the younger generation are ignorant 
of the Pambia language, and have quite forgotten the 
history of their tribe. They have adopted the weapons 


of the invaders, and also their household and agricultural 

I succeeded in unearthing a few of the original Pambia 
customs. The name of their deity is Luma, an invisible 
spirit inhabiting the sources of the streams in the woods 
and rocks. He is supposed to protect agriculture by- 
sending rain at the proper time, and he is also the cause 
of illness and death. In order to propitiate him wooden 
receptacles have been erected in front of almost all 
the houses, in which offerings of food and other small 
gifts are deposited. But it is characteristic of the 
Pambias that they do this only when things are not 
going well with them, or when they are particularly 
anxious to obtain something. Even their harvest 
festival is not a thanksgiving service to Luma, but 
merely a time of rejoicing. The Pambias believe that 
death ends everything. It is true that the dead can 
appear in dreams to the living in order to advise them 
as to their conduct, but they do not believe that the souls 
of the dead survive in another life. In deciding the 
guilt or innocence of an accused person, the Bengi 
poison draught plays an important part, but the Pam- 
bias, unlike the Nsakkaras, administer the poison, not 
to the prisoner, but to a fowl. If the latter drops 
down dead, the guilt of the accused is supposed to be 

When a Pambia dies he is buried in a sitting posture, 
on his side, with his hands and feet tied together, and 
his face turned towards the East. His favourite wife 
is usually killed and buried with him. Otherwise 
women and children are buried by themselves. The 
graves are dug close to the houses, and are protected 
by a roof. Dancing and feasting form the chief part of 
the funeral ceremonies. There is one custom, probably 


derived from the Asandes, which requires anyone who 
passes a grave to throw a handful of fresh leaves on to 
the mound, otherwise he will have bad luck on his 

Blood feuds are common among the Pambias, but 
are mitigated by the fact that the relatives of the 
murdered man can usually be appeased by the payment 
of a sum of money. Unfortunately I was not able to 
ascertain how long the metal iron has been known to 
this tribe. The natives assured me that they had 
always had it, and I found no trace of old stone 
implements or weapons. 

On a visit to a Pambia village I made the acquaintance 
of a venerable old man named Bogpingi, who informed 
me that he was a Nberre from the Uelle country, and 
that it was only since the time of his grandfather that 
his family had lived among the Pambias. With great 
pride he related to me the history of his origin, which 
is so extraordinary that I will set it down. 

His great grandfather, Rumbi, had once upon a time 
lost his way in the great Congo forest, and had lived by 
himself until he made friends with a herd of chimpanzees. 
He made his home with this herd, and eventually 
married a chimpanzee young lady. By this union 
he had several children, amongst them Bansira, who 
was afterwards Bogpingi's grandfather. Bansira was 
finally adopted by the Pambias, and his family has 
remained with this tribe ever since ; his son was the 
chief Gimma, the father of my informant Bogpingi. 
The old gentleman was very proud of having had a 
chimpanzee for his great -grandmother, and his face 
certainly confirmed his account of his ancestry, 
bearing an unmistakable resemblance to my two tame 
chimpanzees. Several times in this country I came 

216. Vine bridge. 

217. Provision baskets of the Bellanda. 

218. Bearer of the Kredi tribe. 


across families claiming a direct descent from anthropoid 
apes, which they regarded as a special honour, and by 
no means as a disgrace ! 

It was, however, a still greater distinction to belong 
to a family possessing an ancestor who fell from heaven. 
The origin of the Avunguras, the ruling family among 
the Asandes, was described to me as follows. 

Some Asandes were one day hunting near the Uelle 
River. After burning the long grass, they came upon 
a dumb man seated on an ant-hill, eating white ants. 
They brought him back to camp, and a few days later 
decided to kill him. When he saw them preparing 
their knives he recovered his speech, and announced 
that he had been sent from heaven in order to teach 
the Asandes the difference between right and wrong. 
They were consequently afraid to kill him, and named 
him Bassenginunga, which in the Asande tongue means 
" a man found in the grass." He turned out to be a 
very good man, and he taught them that it was wrong 
to kill men or steal wives. His influence increased 
until at last he was made sultan, and thus became the 
ancestor of the Avunguras. His good qualities do not, 
however, appear to have been inherited by his descen- 
dants, otherwise the Avunguras in Semio's sultanate 
would not be such lazy, good-for-nothing rascals ! 

My first long excursion from Tambura was in a south- 
westerly direction ; fifteen minutes after leaving the 
station we passed the sultan's residence, but Tambura 
had been misbehaving himself, and was consequently 
spending a few weeks in prison. His third son Renzi, 
who would probably be his successor, was attending 
to the government in his father's absence. 

We marched through the rocky mountains of Monga- 
bidde and Amombawaia, past the ravines and caverns 


in which the Pambias once had their abode, and where 
later on Sultan Lewa had lived until he fell a victim to 
Arab slave hunters on Mount Kanebebi. I travelled for 
three days in a direction south-west of Tambura to visit 
the chief Bekr, a brother of Tambura. Unfortunately a 
sprained ankle was just then making my life a burden. 

On another occasion I made an expedition towards 
the South, into the district formerly governed by the 
two sons of Eso, Ngatu and Ndoruma, who during their 
reign kept the Arabs out of the country. I spent ten 
days in the village of a nephew of Ndoruma named 
Injikki or Hirua, who was very friendly towards me. 
(Vide coloured illus. and illus. 215.) Thanks to the 
game-preserving laws of the Egyptian Government, 
the country is full of elephants ; I saw about two 
hundred in one herd, and constantly encountered 
fresh spoors. 

The subject race in this district are the Abarambos, 
a tribe which must have been in this country for 
centuries, but which like the Pambias, Seres, and 
Akares, is being absorbed by the Asandes. Their 
weapons, household and agricultural implements, 
houses, and mode of hunting are practically identical 
with those of the Pambias. Although they denied all 
relationship with the latter, I feel sure there is some 
connection between the two tribes, for their respective 
languages contain many similar expressions. Even 
here, however, the natives spoke the Asande language 
more frequently than their own tongue, and in time the 
Abarambo language, like that of the Pambias and the 
Akares, will be a thing of the past. 

I made a third expedition to visit the caves in the 
rocky mountains formerly inhabited by the Pambias. 
(Illus. 212.) These rocks are honeycombed with holes 

Sister of the Asande Chief Hirua 

Water-colour by E. M. Heims 


and caverns, which must have been safe hiding-places 
for the natives, but which can scarcely have taken the 
place of huts. My expectation of discovering traces 
of real cave dwellers was disappointed, and I saw no 
sign of inscriptions, drawings, or stone implements. 
The cavern in which Lewa dwelt for a long time with 
his whole family, and evaded his pursuers, was very 
roomy ; a number of baboons had taken up their abode 
in it, and did not seem pleased to see me. 

At a distance the Pambia Mountains resemble a 
closed mountain range, but on closer acquaintance I 
found that they comprise an extensive highland district, 
with several lofty peaks, deep ravines and beautiful 
torrents splashing over the naked rocks. (Illus. 211, 
213.) At the present time the Pambias inhabit the 
valleys and plains, but on the faintest suspicion that 
they may be needed as bearers, they take refuge in the 
mountains. They would never have shown me the 
way to their caves, but by guile and bribery I induced 
an Asande to be my guide. 

My time was limited, and though I would willingly 
have spent several weeks longer in this neighbourhood, 
I was obliged to press on towards the North, in order 
to reach the terminus of the little steamers going from 
Wau to the Nile. This voyage is possible only during 
the months of August and September, for the rest of 
the year the Wau River is blocked with grass, and at 
times quite dried up. So it was necessary for me to 
put my best foot foremost. Captain Stephenson 
kindly procured for me fifty bearers and an escort of 
seven soldiers. On the 26th of August I left Tambura, 
where I had been hospitably entertained for nearly 
six weeks. Stephenson was stationed at one of the 
most distant outposts of the Soudan, and consequently 


seldom saw a European, so that he was quite sorry to 
part with me. 

The journey from Tambura to Wau lay mostly 
through swamps and flooded streams, and for eigh- 
teen days I waded through the long grass in a 
northerly direction. 

I endeavoured at first to bridge the swollen rivers 
with tree trunks, but finally I came to the conclusion 
that on the one hand this took up a great deal of time, 
whilst on the other it was often more dangerous to 
traverse these impromtu bridges than to swim the 
rivers. Sometimes we constructed suspension bridges 
high up in the trees, by throwing lianas from one tree 
to the next, and plaiting them together. (Illus. 216.) 
A certain amount of acrobatic skill was required in 
order to cross these swaying air-bridges without fall- 
ing. The bearers surmounted every obstacle with 
the utmost skill and unconcern, but every now and 
then one or other fell with his load into the river. 
With few exceptions we always succeeded in rescuing 
the men, but the loads were in such cases irretriev- 
ably lost. The disappearance of a case containing 
almost all my photographic films was a great dis- 
appointment to me. Often at night it was impossible 
to find a dry spot, and twice I followed the example 
of the natives and slept in a tree the branches of which 
formed my bed. It rained in torrents all the time, 
and it was quite useless to attempt to put on dry 
clothes since they immediately became soaked, even 
if it had been possible to find any dry garments in 
my wet luggage. I became quite apathetic, and in 
the evening when I wrapped myself in my wet 
blankets, my chief joy was in the knowledge that 
one more day of misery was at an end. 


There was little hunting to be done, for the grass 
was so long that there was no game to be seen ex- 
cepting guinea-fowl and Nile geese, which were plenti- 
ful and formed our daily menu. (Illus. 214.) In 
the dry season this district must be very beautiful, 
and provide excellent hunting, for I saw the spoors 
of a great many buffaloes and elephants. 

The country is of course almost uninhabited, on 
account of the yearly floods. The last village be- 
longing to the sultanate of Tambura lay at the foot 
of the rocky mountains, and was the abode of the 
Asande chief, Koselli. 

The passage of the Bo River was particularly diffi- 
cult. There were two islands side by side in mid- 
stream, so that we had to cross three branches and 
construct three bridges. The river was a hundred and 
seventy-five feet wide, and the current was very 
strong, so that without the islands it would have been 
quite impossible to bridge it. As it was, it took us 
three days to get the whole caravan across. 

On the 9th of September I reached the Nomatilla 
or Wau River, near its junction with the Sueh, and 
crossed to the other side in boats. A march of two 
and a half hours brought me to Wau, the seat of 
the Bahr-el-Ghazal Government. The English officers 
in the Egyptian service welcomed me most cordially, 
and took great pains to make me comfortable. 

Wau (illus. 219) is situated close to the Djur River, 
which is formed by the junction of the Sueh and Wau 
Rivers. The Djur is navigable only from July to the 
end of September ; at other times a land journey, 
mostly through swamps, is the only means of com- 
munication with Meshra-el-Rek, from which point the 
river is navigable for steamers all the year round. 


The only important indigenous product is ivory. 
I know of no other country in which elephants are 
as plentiful as they are in Bahr-el-Ghazal. At pre- 
sent the natives are not allowed to sell ivory direct 
to the traders ; they sell it to the Government officials, 
who either put it up to public auction, or else send 
it to Khartoum. 

The British officers live in comfortable wooden 
barracks, provided with mosquito nets, baths, etc. 
They have a delightful mess with a verandah looking 
on to the river, and after living so long under the 
primitive conditions of the bush, my accommodation 
at Wau seemed to me fit for a king. At the Austrian 
Catholic mission station I made the acquaintance 
of a German father with whom I could converse in 
my native tongue. But the greatest pleasure of all 
was to receive a telegram from Hamburg announcing 
the safe return of His Highness the Duke, and three 
large sacks full of letters and papers from Germany. 

My efforts to pursue my ethnological studies and add 
to my collections among the mixed population of 
Wau were not very successful in spite of the kind 
efforts of the Deputy- Governor, Channer Bey, to 
assist me. 

The risk of running aground in the papyrus swamps 
and grass bars of the Bahr-el-Ghazal River obliges 
the steamers to cease running after the middle of 
September, so that if I wished to proceed by water 
to the Nile, I had to start immediately. 

On the 11th of September I left Wau in the little 
steamer " Beatrice," and travelled down the Djur 
River towards the North. On the banks I saw many 
giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, and water-buck. 

Three days later at the wood station, Ghabatel- 

/H Brl' * * 

— ^Rs^ii^ai Is?" 

t\ H^— ^W > •3*'* #i 

-. " ft nuii^M 

220. Sudd of the Bahr-el-Ghazal in open water. 

221. Steamer and boats in the sudd of the Bahr-el-Ghazal. 

222. Nile steamer Zafir. 


Warrana, I was obliged to tranship into a small house- 
boat owing to the reeds and grass which obstructed 
the steamer's course. I had to spend two days at 
this unattractive spot swarming with mosquitoes 
and surrounded on every side by submerged country, 
awaiting the arrival of an English Captain Lushington, 
who was also to travel in the house-boat. 

One day, in order to pass the time, I went hunting 
in the neighbourhood, but it was a most disagreeable 
experience. For fully two hours I waded in water 
up to my neck, the prey of countless bloodthirsty 
mosquitoes, until I reached comparatively dry ground. 
Even then the grass was so long that I could not see 
any game, and I toiled wearily back to the boat with 
an empty bag. 

On the 17th of September we reached Lake Ambadi, 
where the Djur joins the Bahr-el-Ghazal proper, and 
found the river steamer " Zafir " waiting to convey 
us down the Nile. (Illus. 222.) The steamer had 
four lighters in tow which contained eleven Soudanese 
battalions on their way to Khartoum, and these four 
hundred men, who were crowded like sheep, were a 
tolerably noisy party. It was the Arab fast month, 
Ramadan, when all faithful Moslems spend their 
whole time in praying and singing. Night is con- 
verted into day, for the fasting applies only to the 
daytime, and during the night they enjoy a com- 
prehensive menu. 

We pushed our way through the grass, and struggled 
with the dense growth of papyrus, until at last we 
reached Lake No and the open water without mishap. 
From the steamer we could see a great many elephants, 
buffaloes, giraffes, and various kinds of antelopes, 
but the intervening swamps prevented our getting 


within gunshot. Most interesting of all, however, 
were the numerous examples of that very remarkable 
African bird peculiar to Bahr-el-Ghazal, the " slipper 
beak" (Balceniceps rex). From the large size of his 
beak he is called by the Arabs " Abu Markub " which 
means " the father of the slipper." 

At the eastern extremity of Lake No, the Bahr-el- 
Gebel coming from the south through the Albert and 
Victoria-Nyanza Lakes, joins the Bahr-el-Ghazal or 
Gazelle River, to form the White Nile, which was so 
wide and deep that we were able to travel by night 
as well as by day. We passed the villages and cattle 
of the Shilluks, the mission station of Tongo, and the 
mouth of the Sobat River flowing from Abyssinia. 

At last I reached Fashoda, now known as Kodok, 
where Commandant Marchand's expedition came to 
an end with an unfavourable result for France. 
Marchand and I travelled by the same route from 
the West Coast to the Nile, and knowing as I do from 
my own experience all the difficulties of this long 
journey, I can fully sympathise with the disappoint- 
ment of this brave man when the French tricolore 
was replaced at Fashoda by the Union Jack. 

At Fashoda I received news from Dr Schubotz that 
he had safely arrived at Redjaf on the Nile, and begging 
me to wait for him at Khartoum. 

It was an easy and comfortable journey down the 
Nile to Khartoum, the capital of the Anglo -Egyptian 
Soudan. Thanks to the kind foresight of the Sirdar, 
Sir F. Reginald Wingate, and of the well-known 
Baron Slatin Pasha, General Inspector of the Soudan, 
the English officers and officials were expecting me, 
and gave me a most cordial reception. 

I became acquainted with the principal details of 


the Anglo-Egyptian Government, and with the mar- 
vellous buildings far surpassing those of any other 
Central African city. I also inspected the well-dis- 
ciplined Soudanese troops, the military railway, and 
the Gordon College, which is gradually being con- 
verted into a native university. I paid a visit to 
Omdurman on the opposite bank, the scene of Lord 
Kitchener's triumph over fourteen years ago, when 
he broke the might of the dervishes, and put an end 
to the misery which had ensued for so many years 
from the reign of terror of the followers of the Mahdi 
and the Khalifa in the Soudan. 

Two weeks later I clasped my friend Schubotz in 
my arms, and then we travelled rapidly through 
Egypt, across the Mediterranean, and overland to 
Germany. The best reward for all the fatigues and 
dangers we had surmounted was the knowledge that 
we were once more safely at home ! 


Q l 




DT Adolf Friedrich, Duke of 

351 Mecklenburg-Schwerin 
A3613 From the Congo to the 

v.l Niger and the Nile